Whether an aircraft is a small business jet or a massive airliner, fuel serves as one of the costliest aspects of flight operations. With consistently rising prices for fuel and the volume needed for distant flight, airliners and aircraft engineers have poured their efforts into increasing fuel efficiency to drive down costs. Fuel efficiency can be achieved in a number of ways, and many airliners have taken advantage of emerging engine technologies, flight profile optimization, advanced route planning, weight reduction, and much more.
When focusing on engine improvements, efficiency can be achievable through thorough maintenance and adjustments to the assembly. The timing of operations and the functionality of the fuel ignition source is crucial for efficiency as improper timing can cause a loss as fuel is improperly burned. Having a uniform, high temperature for combustion is also more beneficial for increased fuel efficiency and powerful exhaust for driving a turbine blade assembly or pistons. In addition to ensuring that the engine is running well without issue, efficiency can also be improved through the utilization of higher quality oils and fuels which can increase performance for the benefit of an aircraft’s fuel economy.
Another major way in which aircraft fuel efficiency is increased is to reduce the overall weight of the aircraft. The heavier a particular model is the more fuel it will need to burn in order to maintain lift. As such, engineers have continued to search for ways to reduce the weight of various accessories, structures, and components. With fiber optic lines, for example, heavy copper wiring can be removed from certain appliances so the overall weight of the electrical system can be reduced. Carbon fiber is also a major player in reducing weight as it can replace aluminum structures while retaining an advantageous strength-to-weight ratio. Alongside the reduction of weight across the aircraft, it is also important to maintain proper loading so that additional power is not spent to simply maintain level flight.
Drag is a force that acts against aircraft as they move through the air, and it is caused by any solid object pushing its way through a fluid such as air. While drag cannot fully be reduced, combating its effects to a degree can ensure increased aerodynamics for smoother flight. Many changes have been proposed and tested over the years, and more aerodynamic wings, fuselage shapes, tails, and other structures have increased fuel efficiency for many aircraft.
Lastly, improving operation parameters can also have an effect on fuel efficiency. With operational techniques such as maintaining a constant speed and altitude or reducing idle time, aircraft of all types may improve their fuel efficiency and burn rates. Leaning is also a major way to increase fuel efficiency, but it can be a risky practice if combustion temperatures exceed the safe limits for cylinders. Leaning is the practice of adjusting the mixture of fuel and air, and it may be used to achieve the best speed for a particular power setting as fuel flow is reduced. To ensure that leaning is practiced safely, one should always follow manufacturer specifications or the specific aircraft’s handbook.
Through engine maintenance, emerging technologies, and improved practices, aircraft fuel efficiency can be increased for the benefit of lower operational costs. Fulfillment 3sixty is a leading online distributor of aircraft parts, and we can help you secure competitive pricing and rapid lead-times on over 2 billion new, used, and obsolete items that we offer. If there are specific items that you are interested in, take advantage of our included search engine and filters to locate what you need quick and easy. When you are ready to begin the purchasing process, you may first begin with a quote for your comparisons through the submission of an Instant RFQ form as provided on our website.
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