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Beginner's Guide to Propulsion
Maximum Flight Time
If so instructed by your teacher, print out a workskheet page for these problems.

Maximum Flight Time: Click on image for description

Complete the following activities that relate to the Maximum Flight Time of an aircraft. You may want to read additional slides from the Beginner's Guide to Propulsion. It will be helpful to use the links on the Maximum Flight Time slide.

  1. The Maximum Flight Time for an aircraft depends on the specific fuel consumption, net thrust, and the mass of the fuel load. If all other factors for the following aircrafts remain the same, which of the 2 aircraft has the longer maximum flight time? Place an "X" on the correct line.


    AIRCRAFT A - The throttle setting is 58% ___________

    AIRCRAFT B - The throttle setting is 75% ___________


    AIRCRAFT A - The engine is producing 1500 pounds of thrust _______

    AIRCRAFT B - The engine is producing 2000 pounds of thrust ________


    AIRCRAFT A - has a turbojet engine with an afterburner ________

    AIRCRAFT B - has a plain turbojet engine __________


    AIRCRAFT A - has a turboprop engine ____________

    AIRCRAFT B - has a rocket engine ___________


    AIRCRAFT A - has a L/D (lift to drag ratio) of .5 __________

    AIRCRAFT B - has a L/D (lift to drag ratio) of .8 __________


    AIRCRAFT A - has a fuel mass flow rate of 2500 lbm/hr_________

    AIRCRAFT B - has a fuel mass flow rate of 3500 lbm/hr__________

    Before you complete Step 2, make sure you are comfortable with the Maximum Flight Time Equation as well as the Range Equation.

  2. For a given mission, the required flight time could replace the maximum flight time in the required equation. This idea may be needed to solve the following:

    A. For mission I, we need 4500 pounds of thrust for 3 hours. If the Thrust Specific Fuel Consumption is .8, how much fuel is needed for this mission?

    For the second mission, the engines are being fed from a fuel tank that delivers 3200 pounds mass per hour. If the aircraft is producing 2500 pounds of thrust, what is the TSFC?

    C. If the aircraft can carry 20,000 pounds mass of fuel plus the amount needed for takeoff and landing, what is the limit for the time the mission can take?

    D. The aircraft plans to maintain a cruise speed of 120 mph. What is the aircraft's maximum range?

    . The aircraft was forced to land unexpectedly. At that time, there were only 15,000 pounds mass of fuel in excess of that needed for takeoff and landing. All other conditions remain the same. If the final destination of the mission is 630 miles away, what cruise speed should be maintained? 

Related Pages:
Propulsion Activity Index
Propulsion Index


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Editor: Tom Benson
NASA Official: Tom Benson
Last Updated: Thu, May 13 02:38:39 PM EDT 2021

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