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Calculating aircraft fuel consumption

  1. Oct 26, 2011 #1
    I'm doing some research into advances in aircraft and need to calculate some (rough) values for aircraft consumption per passenger.

    The only method I can think of is calculating the maximum fuel weight at maximum payload (Maximum Take Off Weight (MTOW) - Maximum Zero Fuel Weight (MZFW)) and dividing by the density. From this divide by the maximum range and number of passengers.

    While this does give a reasonable value for fuel consumption it does make some rather basic assumptions, particularly regarding range and maximum payload, and that flights won't be anywhere near maximum range.

    Does anyone have any ideas about a better method to calculate fuel consumption?

  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 26, 2011 #2


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    Gold Member

    When operating, weather is an important part. A plane will reduce its payload and take on extra fuel in non-optimimum flying conditions. While this would show greater range that is not the case.
    Rarely does a plane load up with maximum fuel, but only that which is needed to reach its destination. And there is a reserve of fuel on board in cases of emergency, not for the plane itself but for airport closures, circuling, and re-routing. Alternative airports are selected prior to takeoff and the fuel loaded takes this into consideration.

    If you are taking specifications from a pamphlet of a particular aircraft with its criteria listed as you have mentioned than that would be a way to calculate expected fuel consumption under nominal conditions. Operating fuel comsuption may be somewhat different.
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