Comprehensive Analysis of Transport Aircraft Flight Performance


Progress in Aerospace Sciences journal cover

A Filippone
Progress in Aerospace Sciences
Apr 2007

This paper reviews the state-of-the art in comprehensive performance codes for fixed-wing aircraft. The importance of system analysis in flight performance is discussed. The paper highlights the role of aerodynamics, propulsion, flight mechanics, aeroacoustics, flight operation, numerical optimisation, stochastic methods and numerical analysis. The latter discipline is used to investigate the sensitivities of the sub-systems to uncertainties in critical state parameters or functional parameters. The paper discusses critically the data used for performance analysis, and the areas where progress is required.

Comprehensive analysis codes can be used for mission fuel planning, envelope exploration, competition analysis, a wide variety of environmental studies, marketing analysis, aircraft certification and conceptual aircraft design.

A comprehensive program that uses the multi-disciplinary approach for transport aircraft is presented. The model includes a geometry deck, a separate engine input deck with the main parameters, a database of engine performance from an independent simulation, and an operational deck. The comprehensive code has modules for deriving the geometry from bitmap files, an aerodynamics model for all flight conditions, a flight mechanics model for flight envelopes and mission analysis, an aircraft noise model and engine emissions. The model is validated at different levels. Validation of the aerodynamic model is done against the scale models DLR-F4 and F6. A general model analysis and flight envelope exploration are shown for the Boeing B-777-300 with GE-90 turbofan engines with intermediate passenger capacity (394 passengers in 2 classes). Validation of the flight model is done by sensitivity analysis on the wetted area (or profile drag), on the specific air range, the brake-release gross weight and the aircraft noise. A variety of results is shown, including specific air range charts, take-off weight–altitude charts, payload-range performance, atmospheric effects, economic Mach number and noise trajectories at F.A.R. landing points.