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"Density Altitude"

Derek Palmer © 2011

A poem by a retired AAC Pilot.



Some of the pilots in the Second World War

And some in the early days of the Corps,

Encountered problems with Air Density,

That caused them periods of anxiety.


There is no doubt, as ICAO defines,

That temperature drops as an aircraft climbs,

From fifteen degrees Centigrade at the sea,

It drops down quite consistently.


Every thousand feet rise in altitude,

Is two degrees down the Centigrade tube.

More height, the further the temperature drops,

Until so low and cold, it stops.


The Auster with only cylinders four,

Had insufficient power with which to tour,

Over mountains high and deserts hot,

It was difficult for it to handle that lot.


The Lynx suffers, too, in terrain hot and harsh,

Finding it difficult to carry out its tasks.

Only early morn and late in the day,

Can sorties be flown to assist the affray.


For though it tries hard, the Gems sometime lack,

Enough power to lift soldiers and packs.

So grounded it waits for the air to cool

When again its engine it can ‘spool’.


Then the power they produce generates enough lift,

Through the ‘Collective’ and blades for the Lynx to shift,

To prosecute the Taleban in that land,

Especially in the province of Helmand.


But wait, have you heard; there’s a new version,

Of an old favourite loved by many a person.

It’s the Mark 3 Beaver that’s become so topical,

For dealing with problems of a nature tropical.


You can be sure and have absolute trust,

In it’s turbo-prop and its reverse thrust.

Even with nine passengers or a ton of cargo,

On take-offs and landings there is no embargo.


Come the Mark 3, Density Altitude’s no worry,

For others, Beaver pilots’ feel a trifle sorry,

For the Pratt and Whitney has power to spare

To cope with heat and the rarefied air.


So instead of the Lynx in Afghanistan

Use Mk 3 Beavers to fight the Taleban.

Its capacity, performance and STOL ability

Must appeal to the Corps, if not to the Ministry.


So search the internet on your P.C.

To find Viking Air of Victoria, B.C.

For less than a million they can supply,

A ‘brand new’ Turbo Beaver, for you to fly.


Remember, there are Beaver pilots, old and bold,

Expecting the call to come out of the cold.

Eager and many are the Corps brothers,

Waiting for a commission to rejoin the Colours.


So, please, give us another chance to prove,

After a Mk 3 conversion we can move,

What a Lynx cannot do during the heat of the day

With a new Beaver, any load is OK!!