Flight Path Optimization at Constant Altitude
In this paper we consider flight optimization at constant altitude for a variety of missions and propulsion systems, and then focus on maximizing the range of a turbofan powered aircraft. Most analyses of optimal transport aircraft flight begin with the assumption that the flight profile consists of three segments – climb, cruise and descent. Indeed, this is the flight profile of all long-haul commercial flights today. The dominant stage of such flights, in terms of flight time, is the cruise segment. The air transportation industry is extremely competitive and even small changes in aircraft performance have significant impacts on the operation costs of airlines. Thus there has been, and continues to be, great interest in optimizing the cruising flight of transport aircraft.
KeywordsFuel Consumption Propulsion System Transport Aircraft Constant Altitude Cruise Speed
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The authors thank Doug Pargett for the use of his computer program and for valuable discussions. We also thank P.K. Menon for suggesting the endurance mission and for pointing out the paper by Mancill.
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