Journals

Conferences

Open Access Articles- Top Results for Fuel economy in aircraft

Fuel economy in aircraft

File:Aircraft.in.cruise.arp.jpg
A Boeing 747 in cruise flight: Aircraft like this burn jet fuel.

Aircraft must consume fuel to supply the energy needed to move the vehicles and their passengers. Fuel economy is a measure of how much fuel an aircraft needs to operate, and it can be expressed in several ways, for example by the liters of fuel consumed per passenger per kilometer. Aerodynamic drag, which exerts a force on the aircraft in the opposite direction from the velocity, is a principal determinant of energy consumption in aircraft because they operate at such high speeds.

Factors in aircraft fuel economy

Each model of aircraft has a maximum range speed for a given total load (fuel plus payload), which is the speed at which it is most fuel efficient.[1] Flying slower or faster than this optimum speed increases fuel consumption per mile flown. There is an optimum speed for efficiency because the component of drag resulting from airframe skin friction against the air increases at a square function of air speed, but the drag resulting from generating lift decreases with air speed. (These are technically called parasitic drag and induced drag, respectively.)[1] The desirability of a low maximum range speed to reduce environmental and climate impacts is at odds in aircraft design with the benefit to revenue streams of making that design speed higher, to increase the passenger miles flown per day.[2]

Aircraft weight is also a factor in fuel economy, because more lift-generating drag (induced drag) results as weight increases. If airframe weight is reduced, engines that are smaller and lighter can be used, and for a given range the fuel capacity can be reduced. Thus some weight savings can be compounded for an increase in fuel efficiency. A rule-of-thumb being that a 1% weight reduction corresponds to around a 0.75% reduction in fuel consumption.[3]

Flight altitude affects engine efficiency. Jet-engine efficiency increases at altitude up to the tropopause, the temperature minimum of the atmosphere; at lower temperatures, the engine efficiency is higher.[1] Jet engine efficiency is also increased at high speeds, but above about Mach 0.85 the aerodynamic drag on the airframe overwhelms this effect.

This is because above that speed air begins to become incompressible, causing shockwaves to form that greatly increase drag. For supersonic flight (Mach 1.0 and higher), fuel consumption is increased tremendously.

Changes in commercial aircraft fuel economy since the 1950s

Although modern jet aircraft have twice the fuel efficiency of the earliest jet airliners, [4] they are only slightly more fuel efficient than the latest piston engine airliners of the late 1950s such as the Lockheed L-1649 Starliner and Douglas DC-7.[2] Nonetheless, jets have about twice the cruise speed. The early jet airliners were designed at a time when air crew labor costs were higher relative to fuel costs than today. Despite the high fuel consumption, because fuel was inexpensive in that era the higher speed resulted in favorable economics since crew costs and amortization of capital investment in the aircraft could be spread over more seat miles flown per day.[5]

Today's turboprop airliners have better fuel efficiency than current jet airliners, in part because of their lower cruising speed and propellers that are more efficient than those of the 1950s-era piston-powered airlines.[6] Among major airlines, those which have turboprop equipped regional carrier subsidiaries typically rank high in overall fleet fuel efficiency. For example, although Alaska Airlines scored at the top of a 2011-2012 fuel efficiency ranking, if its regional carrier—turbo-prop equipped Horizon Air—were dropped from the consideration, the airline's ranking would be lower.

Jet aircraft efficiency

Jet aircraft efficiencies are improving: Between 1960 and 2000 there was a 55% overall fuel efficiency gain (if one were to consider the Boeing 707 as the base case).[2] Most of the improvements in efficiency were gained in the first decade when jet craft first came into widespread commercial use. Between 1971 and 1998 the fleet-average annual improvement per available seat-kilometre was estimated at 2.4%. Concorde the supersonic transport managed about 17 passenger-miles to the Imperial gallon; similar to a business jet, but much worse than a subsonic turbofan aircraft. Airbus states a fuel rate consumption of their A380 at less than 3 L/100 km per passenger (78 passenger-miles per US gallon).[7]

Weight effect

As over 80% of the fully laden take-off weight of a modern aircraft such as the Airbus A380 is craft and fuel, there remains considerable room for future improvements in fuel efficiency. The weight of an aircraft can be reduced by using light-weight materials such as titanium, carbon fiber and other composite plastics. Expensive materials may be used, if the reduction of mass justifies the price of materials through improved fuel efficiency. The improvements achieved in fuel efficiency by mass reduction, reduces the amount of fuel that needs to be carried. This further reduces the mass of the aircraft and therefore enables further gains in fuel efficiency. For example, the Airbus A380 design includes multiple light-weight materials.

Aerodynamics

Airbus has showcased wingtip devices (sharklets or winglets) that can achieve 3.5 percent reduction in fuel consumption.[8][9] There are wingtip devices on the Airbus A380. Further developed Minix winglets have been said to offer 6 percent reduction in fuel consumption.[10] Winglets at the tip of an aircraft wing, can be retrofitted to any airplane, and smooths out the wing-tip vortex, reducing the aircraft's wing drag.[10]

NASA and Boeing are conducting tests on a Script error: No such module "convert". "blended wing" aircraft. This design allows for greater fuel efficiency since the whole craft produces lift, not just the wings.[11] The blended wing body (BWB) concept offers advantages in structural, aerodynamic and operating efficiencies over today's more conventional fuselage-and-wing designs. These features translate into greater range, fuel economy, reliability and life cycle savings, as well as lower manufacturing costs.[12][13] NASA has created a cruise efficient STOL (CESTOL) concept.

Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Applied Materials Research (IFAM) have researched a shark skin imitating paint that would reduce drag through a riblet effect.[14] Aircraft are a major potential application for new technologies such as aluminium metal foam and nanotechnology such as the shark skin imitating paint.

Fuel consumption factors

To save fuel, Simon Weselby presented the following measures while flying, in his example of an A330 flying Script error: No such module "convert".:[15]

  • direct routing: Script error: No such module "convert". less distance saves Script error: No such module "convert". fuel
  • vertical flight profile optimization: fly Script error: No such module "convert". below optimum altitude, Script error: No such module "convert". more fuel consumed
  • cruising speed: 0.01 mach above optimum, Script error: No such module "convert". more fuel consumed
  • aircraft weight: Script error: No such module "convert". more fuel on board, Script error: No such module "convert". more fuel consumed. Script error: No such module "convert". of unused potable water, Script error: No such module "convert". more fuel consumed.

Also operational procedures can save fuel:[15]

  • 10 minutes less APU use, Script error: No such module "convert". fuel saved
  • reduced flap approach, Script error: No such module "convert". fuel saved
  • reduced thrust reversal, Script error: No such module "convert". fuel saved

Maintenance saves fuel as well:[15]

  • no engine wash schedule: Script error: No such module "convert". more fuel consumed
  • slat rigging, Script error: No such module "convert". gap, Script error: No such module "convert". more fuel consumed
  • spoiler rigging, Script error: No such module "convert". gap, Script error: No such module "convert". more fuel consumed
  • damaged door seal, Script error: No such module "convert". more fuel consumed

Propellers versus jets

Propfans are a more fuel efficient technology than jets or turboprops, but turboprops have an optimum speed below about 450 mph (700 km/h).[16] This speed is less than used with jets by major airlines today. However, the decrease in speed reduces drag. With the current [dated info] high price for jet fuel and the emphasis on engine/airframe efficiency to reduce emissions, there is renewed interest in the propfan concept for jetliners that might come into service beyond the Boeing 787 and Airbus A350XWB. For instance, Airbus has patented aircraft designs with twin rear-mounted counter-rotating propfans.[17] NASA has conducted an Advanced Turboprop Project (ATP), where they researched a variable pitch propfan that produced less noise and achieved high speeds.

Related to fuel efficiency is the impact of aviation emissions on climate.

Example Values

Turboprop

Script error: No such module "convert". sector

model first flight seats Fuel efficiency per seat
ATR 72-600 2009 70 Script error: No such module "convert". [18]
Bombardier Dash 8 Q400 1998 78 Script error: No such module "convert". [19]

Regional

Script error: No such module "convert". sector (except 737-300 : Script error: No such module "convert".)

model first flight seats Fuel efficiency per seat
Boeing 737-300 1984 126 Script error: No such module "convert".[20]
Boeing 737-600 1998 110 Script error: No such module "convert".[21]
Boeing 737-700 1997 126 Script error: No such module "convert".[21]
Boeing 737-800 1997 162 Script error: No such module "convert".[21]
Boeing 737-900ER 2006 180 Script error: No such module "convert".[21]
Bombardier CRJ1000 2009 100 Script error: No such module "convert". [22]

Short haul

Script error: No such module "convert". sector

model first flight seats Fuel efficiency per seat
Airbus A319 1995 124 Script error: No such module "convert".[23]
Airbus A319Neo 136 Script error: No such module "convert".[24]
Airbus A320 1987 150 Script error: No such module "convert".[23]
Airbus A321-200 1996 180 Script error: No such module "convert".[23]
Airbus A330-200 1997 293 Script error: No such module "convert".[23]
Boeing 737-600 1998 110 Script error: No such module "convert".[21]
Boeing 737-700 1997 126 Script error: No such module "convert".[21]
Boeing 737-700 1997 128 Script error: No such module "convert".[23]
Boeing 737 MAX-7 2017 140 Script error: No such module "convert".[24]
Boeing 737-800 1997 162 Script error: No such module "convert".[21]
Boeing 737-800 1997 160 Script error: No such module "convert".[23]
Boeing 737-800W 1997 162 Script error: No such module "convert".[25]
Boeing 737 MAX-8 2017 162 Script error: No such module "convert".[25]
Boeing 737-900ER 2006 180 Script error: No such module "convert".[21]
Boeing 737-900ERW 2006 180 Script error: No such module "convert".[25]
Boeing 737 MAX-9 2017 180 Script error: No such module "convert".[25]
Boeing 757-200 1982 190 Script error: No such module "convert".[23]
Boeing 787-3 289 Script error: No such module "convert".[23]
Bombardier CS300 2015 135 Script error: No such module "convert".[24]

Medium haul

Around 3000 nm, typically transatlantic, e.g. New York JFK - London-Heathrow [26]

model first flight seats sector Fuel efficiency per seat
Airbus A321NeoLR 2016 154 Script error: No such module "convert".) Script error: No such module "convert".[27]
Airbus A330-200 1997 241 Script error: No such module "convert". Script error: No such module "convert".[28]
Airbus A330-300 1992 262 Script error: No such module "convert". Script error: No such module "convert".[28]
Airbus A330neo-900 2016 310 Script error: No such module "convert". Script error: No such module "convert".[29]
Airbus A340-300 1992 262 Script error: No such module "convert". Script error: No such module "convert".[28]
Boeing 747-8 2011 467 Script error: No such module "convert". Script error: No such module "convert".[30]
Boeing 737 MAX-9 2017 144 Script error: No such module "convert".) Script error: No such module "convert".[27]
Boeing 757-200W 1981 158 Script error: No such module "convert".) Script error: No such module "convert".[27]
Boeing 767-200ER 1984 181 Script error: No such module "convert".) Script error: No such module "convert".[31]
Boeing 767-200ER 1984 193 Script error: No such module "convert".) Script error: No such module "convert".[27]
Boeing 767-200ER 1984 224 Script error: No such module "convert".) Script error: No such module "convert".[31]
Boeing 767-300ER 1988 218 Script error: No such module "convert".) Script error: No such module "convert".[31]
Boeing 767-300ER 1988 269 Script error: No such module "convert".) Script error: No such module "convert".[31]
Boeing 767-400ER 1999 245 Script error: No such module "convert".) Script error: No such module "convert".[31]
Boeing 767-400ER 1999 304 Script error: No such module "convert".) Script error: No such module "convert".[31]
Boeing 767-400ER 1999 304 Script error: No such module "convert". Script error: No such module "convert".[20]
Boeing 777-200 1994 305 Script error: No such module "convert". Script error: No such module "convert".[32]
Boeing 777-200ER 1996 301 Script error: No such module "convert". Script error: No such module "convert".[28]
Boeing 777-300 1997 368 Script error: No such module "convert". Script error: No such module "convert".[32]
Boeing 787-8 2009 238 Script error: No such module "convert".) Script error: No such module "convert".[27]
Boeing 787-9 2013 304 Script error: No such module "convert". Script error: No such module "convert".[29]

Long haul

Around 6000 nm, typically transpacific, e.g. Hong kong international - San Francisco Intl[33]

model first flight seats sector Fuel efficiency per seat
Airbus A330-200 1997 241 Script error: No such module "convert". Script error: No such module "convert".[28]
Airbus A340-300 1992 262 Script error: No such module "convert". Script error: No such module "convert".[28]
Airbus A350-900 2013 315 Script error: No such module "convert". Script error: No such module "convert".[29]
Airbus A380 2005 525 Script error: No such module "convert". Script error: No such module "convert".[34]
Boeing 747-400 1988 416 Script error: No such module "convert". Script error: No such module "convert".[35]
Boeing 747-8 2011 467 Script error: No such module "convert". Script error: No such module "convert".[30]
Boeing 747-8 2011 405 Script error: No such module "convert". Script error: No such module "convert".[34]
Boeing 777-200ER 1996 301 Script error: No such module "convert". Script error: No such module "convert".[28]
Boeing 777-200ER 1996 301 Script error: No such module "convert". Script error: No such module "convert".[32]
Boeing 777-200LR 2005 291 Script error: No such module "convert". Script error: No such module "convert".[29]
Boeing 777-300ER 2003 365 Script error: No such module "convert". Script error: No such module "convert".[32]
Boeing 777-300ER 2003 344 Script error: No such module "convert". Script error: No such module "convert".[34]
Boeing 777-9X 2020 395 Script error: No such module "convert". Script error: No such module "convert".[34]
Boeing 787-9 2013 304 Script error: No such module "convert". Script error: No such module "convert".[29]

For comparison, a Volvo Buses 9700 averages Script error: No such module "convert". per seat for 63 seats,.[36] In highway travel an average auto has the potential for Script error: No such module "convert".[37] per seat (assuming 4 seats) and for a 5-seat 2014 Toyota Prius, Script error: No such module "convert"..[38] While this shows the capabilities of the vehicles, the load factors (percentage of seats occupied) may differ between personal use and societal averages for long-distance auto use, and among those of particular airlines.

References

  1. ^ a b "Drag". Skybrary. Retrieved June 8, 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c Peeters, P. M.; Middel, J.; Hoolhorst, A. (2005). "Fuel efficiency of commercial aircraft: An overview of historical and future trends" (PDF). National Aerospace Laboratory. Retrieved July 6, 2014. 
  3. ^ Barney L. Capehart (2007). Encyclopedia of Energy Engineering and Technology 1. CRC Press. ISBN 978-0-8493-3653-9. 
  4. ^ "Efficiency Trends for New Commercial Jet Aircraft, 1960 to 2008" (PDF). The International Council on Clean Transportation. November 2009. 
  5. ^ Brian M. Yutko and R. John Hansman (May 2011). "Approaches to Representing Aircraft Fuel Efficiency. Performance for the Purpose of a Commercial Aircraft" (PDF). MIT International Center for Air Transportation. 
  6. ^ Irene Kwan (3 June 2014). "Back to the Future: Return of the Turboprop?". The International Council on Clean Transport. 
  7. ^ "The A380: The future of flying". Airbus. Archived from the original on 2007-12-14. Retrieved 2008-03-22. 
  8. ^ "'Shark fin' wings give airline chiefs something to smile about". NZ Herald News. 2009-11-17. Retrieved 2012-09-29. 
  9. ^ "A320 plane shark fins small winglets successfully completed the first flight test". Ylcrafts.com. Retrieved 2012-09-29. 
  10. ^ a b "Minix wing tip device promises 6% gain in fuel efficiency for airliners". Gizmag.com. Retrieved 2012-09-29. 
  11. ^ Hank Green (October 8, 2007). "Fuel Efficient Plane Prototype Hits Skies". Ecogeek. Retrieved July 6, 2014. 
  12. ^ Tom Koehler (October 27, 2006). "Boeing to Begin Ground Testing of X-48B Blended Wing Body Concept" (Press release). Boeing. Retrieved April 10, 2012. 
  13. ^ Philip Lorenz III (July 3, 2007). "AEDC testing brings unique blended wing aircraft closer to flight.". Arnold Air Force Base. Retrieved April 10, 2012. 
  14. ^ Mahony, Melissa (2010-05-25). "A sharkskin coating for ships, planes and blades". SmartPlanet. Retrieved 2012-09-29. 
  15. ^ a b c Fuel Burn vs. Maintenance Costs, IATA maintenance cost conference, October 2012
  16. ^ Spakovszky, Zoltan (2009). "Unified Propulsion Lecture 1". Unified Engineering Lecture Notes. MIT. Retrieved 2009-04-03. 
  17. ^ US application 2009020643, Airbus & Christophe Cros, "Aircraft having reduced environmental impact", published 2009-01-22 
  18. ^ "ATR 72-600 : Quick View" (PDF). ATR. June 2014. 
  19. ^ Mark Brouwer, Siddharth Srinivasan. "Proud to fly a Turboprop: Q400 vs ATR72". The Flying Engineer. 
  20. ^ a b Scott McCartney (Aug 12, 2010). "A Prius With Wings vs. a Guzzler in the Clouds". Wall Street Journal. 
  21. ^ a b c d e f g h "737 performance summary" (PDF). Boeing. 2007. 
  22. ^ "Bombardier CRJ1000 Fuel Consumption". Sun Airlines. 20 August 2013. 
  23. ^ a b c d e f g h "Analysing the options for 757 replacement" (PDF). Aircraft Commerce. August 2005. 
  24. ^ a b c "CS300 first flight Wednesday, direct challenge to 737-7 and A319neo". Leeham News. 25 February 2015. 
  25. ^ a b c d "Boeing 737 MAX: performance with reported engine SFC shortfall". Leeham News. 15 April 2015. 
  26. ^ "Distance from JFK to LHR". great circle mapper. 
  27. ^ a b c d e Bjorn Fehrm (25 February 2015). "Redefining the 757 replacement: Requirement for the 225/5000 Sector". Leeham News. 
  28. ^ a b c d e f g "Boeing: 777 way much better than A330". Aspire aviation. 8 December 2010. 
  29. ^ a b c d e Vinay Bhaskara (November 25, 2014). "UPDATED ANALYSIS: Delta Order for A350; A330neo Hinged on Pricing, Availability". Airways News. 
  30. ^ a b "747-8 performance summary" (PDF). Boeing. 2010. 
  31. ^ a b c d e f "767 performance summary" (PDF). Boeing. 2006. 
  32. ^ a b c d "777 performance summary" (PDF). Boeing. 2009. 
  33. ^ "Distance from HKG to SFO". great circle mapper. 
  34. ^ a b c d "Updating the A380: the prospect of a neo version and what’s involved". leeham news. 3 February 2014. 
  35. ^ "747 performance summary" (PDF). Boeing. 2010. 
  36. ^ Edward Jobson (12 September 2013). "Coach fuel consumption". volvo buses. 
  37. ^ DEFRA (2008). 2008 Guidelines to Defra’s GHG Conversion Factors: Methodology Paper for Transport Emission Factors
  38. ^ "2014 Toyota Prius fuel economy". United States Environmental Protection Agency.