I know cold air is better for engine performance in general, colder air is also denser making lift components stronger(from what I understand).

I was just wondering if there is a temperature or a range of temperatures that offer the best performance overall?

Is there a temp that covers all areas such as takeoff/climb performance, cruise etc. or is it something where each performance area has its own "sweet" spot?

Let's use common flight trainers like the C172 as the example.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ The best horsepower listed is at -20C in the 172S POH. I always thought the engine made full rated horsepower at sealevel, 29.92 on the barometer, and 59F (standard temperature and pressure). I don't see anything in the POH to back that up. I don't have a separate engine book to see if if might be there. $\endgroup$
    – CrossRoads
    Commented Nov 9, 2018 at 14:44

1 Answer 1


Good Evening Alex, just for the record I'm a Private Pilot with about 150 hours of flight time, I would recommend speaking to a Flight instructor if you have any more questions about Aircraft POF. (principles of flight and performance)

Best Performance can be narrow down to a simple formula
Best Performance = High Pressure + Low Temperatures

1 hectopascal is equal to 30ft change
1º celsius is equal to a 120ft change br>

If you are looking for the landing and T/O I would suggest looking a Performance charts-which


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