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Flight Mechanics

Definitions

– Range

Total ground distance traversed on a full tank of fuel --

Anderson book

Distance an airplane can fly on a given amount of fuel --

alternative definition

– Endurance

Total time an airplane stays in the air on a full tank of fuel

-- Anderson book

Time an airplane can fly on a given amount of fuel --

alternative definition

– Specific fuel consumption

Weight of fuel consumed per unit power per unit time

1

Range and Endurance

Propeller-Driven Airplane

Generalized endurance parameters

– Specific fuel consumption (SFC or c) LBS FUEL

– Weight (W) lbs BHP − HR

– Time (t) secs or hrs

– Engine power (P) hp

– Airplane gross weight (W 0) lbs

includes fuel and payload

– Airplane empty weight (W 1) lbs

weight of airplane without fuel W = W1 + W f

Endurance calculation

dW f Wf

– Fuel flow rate w f = - c P (lbs fuel/unit time) = c=−

dt P

– Differential fuel burned dW f = dW = −c Pdt

– Solving for time and integrating

E W1 dW f W0 dW

E= dt = − =

0 W0 cP W1 cP

Propeller-Driven Airplane

Generalized Range Equation

dW

– Multiply V∞ by dt = − to get differential air distance

cP

covered dW

ds = V∞dt = −V∞

cP

– The total distance covered during a range flight is the

integral of this expression

R W1 V∞dW W0 V∞dW

R= ds = − =

0 W0 cP W1 cP

2

Range and Endurance

Propeller-Driven Airplane

– In level flight cruise (no acceleration), the throttle is set to

maintain constant airspeed

PA = PR = DV∞

P DV∞

Shaft HP = P = A =

η η

– Substituting into the general range equation for propeller

airplanes

W V dW W V ηdW W ηdW

R= 0 ∞ = 0 ∞ = 0

W1 cP W1 cDV W1 cD

∞

– Multiplying by W / W and using L= W for equilibrium cruise

flight (level and unaccelerated)

W0 η W dW W0 η L dW

R= =

W1 c W D W1 c D W

Propeller-Driven Airplane

Assume

h is constant throughout flight

L/D is constant throughout flight

c is constant throughout flight

Then, we can integrate

η L W0 dW η L W0

R= R= ln

c D W1 W c D W1

Because of the assumptions listed, the Breguet

approximation is valid only for small dW

– Angle of attack changes over a weight change as large as

the fuel load

– If weight changes significantly, L/D changes

3

Range and Endurance

Propeller-Driven Airplane

Breguet Endurance Equation

Using the same assumptions (L = W and PA = PR = DV∞ )

W0 dW W0 η dW W0 η L dW

E= = =

W1 cP W1 c DV∞ W1 c DV∞ W

Since 1 2W

L =W = ρ∞V∞2 SCL , V∞ =

2 ρ∞ SCL

and W0 η CL ρ∞ SCL dW

E=

W1 c CD 2 W 3/ 2

If we assume CL , CD , η , c, and ρ∞ are all constant

η CL3/ 2 1 1

E= 2 ρ∞ S −

c CD W1 W0

in using this equation, E must be in seconds and c must be in ft-1

3/ 2

CD , C1/L 2 CD

CL

Max Range for reciprocating engine/propeller airplanes

CD max

CL3 / 2

CD Max Endurance for reciprocating engine/propeller

max

4

Range and Endurance

Jet-powered airplane

General endurance equation

– Specific fuel consumption is based on thrust, not power output

lbs of fuel consumed

TSFC ≡ ct

lb of thrust produced − sec

– Again, let dW be the differential change in aircraft weight as fuel is

burned in dt dW

Wf dW = −ctTAdt dt = −

ct = − ctTA

TA

E W1 dW W0 dW

– Integrating: E= dt = − =

0 W0 ctTA W1 ctTA

W 1 L dW

E= 0

W1 ct D W

– Assuming constant ct and L/D

– The Breguet approximation is:

1 L W0

E≅ ln

ct D W1

Jet-powered airplane

To maximize endurance

– Reduce thrust specific fuel consumption, TSFC

– Use a turbofan engine

– Fly at an altitude where the engine is efficient (high, but not too

high)

– increase fuel fraction, W f/ W 0 , to increase W 0/ W 1

– Carry less payload

– Use drop tanks

– maintain L/Dmax

– Loiter at velocity for L/Dmax (where CD,0 = CDi)

– Cruise climb

– Notice that a jet airplane has best endurance at this velocity for

L/Dmax, while a propeller-driven airplane gets best range at this

true airspeed

5

Range and Endurance

Jet-powered airplane

general range equation

– going back to the differential time expression and multiplying by V

V dW

ds = V∞dt = − ∞

ctTA

– of course, ds is the differential distance traveled by the jet

during time dt

– s = 0 when w = w0

– s = R when w = w1

R W V dW

– integrating to get range R = ds = − 1 ∞

0 W0 ctTA

W

– for steady, unaccelerated level flight: TA = TR = L

D

W0 V∞ CL dW

R=

W1 ct CD W

Jet-powered airplane

general range equation (continued)

– since , R becomes W0 2 1 CL dW

2W R=

V∞ =

ρ∞ SCL W1 ρ∞ S ct CD W

Breguet approximation

– if we assume constant ct, CL, CD, and ρ

2 1 CL

R=2

ρ∞ S ct CD

( W0 − W1 )

– for maximum range

– reduce TSFC, ct

– fly at low density (high altitude) CL1/ 2

– use a true airspeed to maximize

CD

6

Range and Endurance

Jet-powered airplane

Cruise for

Max range

– Fly at

CL

CD

max

Speed for

This optimum

Speed gives

CD,0 = 3Cdi

3/ 2

C L C D ,C L CD , C1/L 2 CD

CL

Max Endurance for jet-propelled airplanes

CD max

C1/

L

2

CD max

7

Range and Endurance

Summary

– At L/Dmax CL CL

CL2 =

Using CD = CD ,0 +

πeAR CD CL2

CD ,0 +

πeAR

Differentiating with respect to CL and setting to zero

d

CL CL2 CL

CD ,0 + − CL 2

CD πeAR πeAR

= 2

=0

dCL

CL2

CD ,0 +

πeAR

CL2 CL2 CL2

CD ,0 + −2 =0 CD ,0 =

πeAR πeAR πeAR

CL

CD ,0 = CD ,i FOR

CD max

Summary

– Similar developments show:

CL

CD ,0 = 3CD ,i FOR

CD

max

CL3

3CD ,0 = CD ,i FOR

CD

max

Applies to maximum endurance for a propeller-driven airplane

8

9

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