Cruise Flight Characteristics of Propeller Aircraft

by admin in , , on April 13, 2019

This is a GUI program that calculates the cruise flight performance of a propeller aircraft including: Maximum Level Flight Speed, Minimum Level Flight Speed, Stall Speed, Speed Corresponding to Minimum Power, Lift to Drag Ratio for Minimum Power, Lift Coefficient for Minimum Power, and finally chart presenting Induced Power, Zero-Lift Power, Total Power and position of Vmin, Vmax and VPmin.

To run the program you need to insert the following values: Flight Altitude, Reference Area, Airplane Weight, Engine Power, Zero-Lift Drag Coefficient CDo, K constant of CL^2 in the drag polar equation, and the Maximum Lift Coefficient.

The code based on Pamadi[1] and Saarlas[2] equations of performance of jet engine aircraft in cruise flight.

Examples you can try with this program:

A propeller airplane weighs 45000 N and has a reference area S of 31 m2. The drag polar is given by CD = 0.014 + 0.038CL^2, CLmax = 1.5, and the engine power P = 840 KW and propulsive efficiency (Eta) 0.85 . Determine the maximum and minimum speeds in level flight at sea level and at an altitude of 10 Km, and what is the Speed and Minimum Power at the maximum height.

Used Terms:

  • L: Lift
  • D: Drag
  • Em: Maximum E(L/D)
  • mp: Minimum power
  • Emp: E for Minimum Required Power
  • CD0: Zero-Lift Drag Coefficient
  • K: Weight of CL^2 in Drag Polar (CD = CD0 + K*CL^2)
  • Vmp: Velocity at Minimum Required Power
  • CLmp: Lift Coefficient for Minimum Required Power
  • eta: Propulsive Efficiency


[1] Bandu N. Pamadi, Performance, Stability, Dynamics, and Control of Airplanes, Second Edition,  at NASA Langley Research Center, Hampton, Virginia.

[2] Maido Saarlas, Aircraft Performance, Department of Aeronautics Engineering at U.S. Naval Academy.


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