Presentation Open Access

Conditions for Passenger Aircraft Minimum Fuel Consumption, Direct Operating Costs and Environmental Impact

Caers, Brecht; Scholz, Dieter

Purpose – Find optimal flight and design parameters for three objectives: minimum fuel consumption, Direct Operating Costs (DOC), and environmental impact of a passenger jet aircraft. --- Approach – Combining multiple models (this includes aerodynamics, specific fuel consumption, DOC, and equivalent CO2 mass) into one generic model. In this combined model, each objective's importance is determined by a weighting factor. Additionally, the possibility of further optimizing this model by altering an aircraft's wing loading is analyzed. --- Findings – When optimizing for a compromise between economic and ecologic benefits, the general outcome is a reduction in cruise altitude and an unaltered cruise Mach number compared to common practice. Decreasing cruise speed would benefit the environmental impact but has a negative effect on seat-mile cost. An increase in wing loading could further optimize the general outcome. Albeit at the cost of a greater required landing distance, therefore limiting the operational opportunities of this aircraft. --- Research limitations – Most models use estimating equations based on first principles and statistical data. --- Practical implications – The optimal cruise altitude and speed for a specific objective can be approximated for any passenger jet aircraft. --- Social implications – By using a simple approach, the discussion of optimizing aircraft opens up to a level where everyone can participate. --- Value – To find a general answer on how to optimize aviation, operational and design-wise, by using a simple approach.
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