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Published by: kyoobum on Jun 18, 2012
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For the turboprop aeroplane maximum endurance clearly occurs close to sea level. Most
turbo-props achieve maximum endurance between 5,000 and 10,000 feet; just high
enough to get the engine rpm up to optimum.

For the turboprop aeroplane maximum range occurs at 36,000 feet. But, as you can see,
the penalty for flying lower is not nearly as great as for the jet aeroplane examined

The bottom of the FF curve is NOT L/Dmax for the propeller aeroplane. L/Dmax actually
occurs at the point where the tangent line touches the curve. In other words the maximum
range speed for a propeller aeroplane occurs at the same angle of attack (and speed) that a
comparable jet aeroplane would fly for maximum endurance.

To be realistic, it is hardly ever desired to fly for maximum range in a turbo-prop. A
much more dominant concern in real world flying is speed, because as someone once said
“time is money.” You can clearly see that maximum-range TAS increases with altitude,
i.e. low altitude flying requires flying very slowly which is usually not practical. Most
pilots will choose to fly at faster (at high power setting.) Therefore the zero-wind cruise
efficiency of a turboprop aeroplane improves with altitude. This amounts to saying that
for a given amount of power (usually represented by engine-torque) you fly faster at a
higher altitude – so you should fly high. The precise rule should be to fly at the altitude at
which you get the maximum ground speed (i.e. take wind into consideration) Wind speed
often increases with altitude, but so does TAS, therefore with a tailwind fly as high as the
aeroplane is able; but if there is an increasing headwind with altitude determine whether
the increased true airspeed and decreasing fuel flow due to temperature drop offsets the
increased headwind and choose the altitude with the maximum efficiency.

Aerodynamics for Professional Pilots

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