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One of the most difficult steps in estimating the cruise performance characteristics of high-subsonic transport-category turbofan-powered airplanes is the estimation of the transonic wave drag. Modern jet airplanes cruise most efficiently in the vicinity of the drag-divergence or drag-rise Mach numbers. In the initial design phase and later when the preliminary wind-tunnel and/or CFD computations and drag polars are known with increased accuracy, a method of estimating cruise performance is needed. In this study, a new semi-empirical transonic wave drag model using modified Lock’s equation was developed. For maximum range cruise estimations, an optimization criterion based on maximizing specific air range was used. The resulting nonlinear equations are of 12th- and 13th-order. Numerical Newton–Raphson nonlinear solvers were used to find real positive roots of such polynomials. The NR method was first tested for accuracy and convergence using known analytical solutions. A methodology for an initial guess was developed starting with the maximum-range cruise Mach without the wave-drag included. This guess resulted in fast quadratic convergence in all computations. Other novel features of this article include a new semi-empirical fuel-flow law, which was also extensively tested. Additionally, a semi-empirical turbofan thrust model usable for a wide range of bypass ratios and the entire flight envelope was developed. Such physics-based semi-empirical model can be used for a wide range of turbofans. The algorithm can be utilized to identify most beneficial input parameter values and combinations for the cruise flight phase. The model represents a powerful tool to estimate important cruise performance airspeeds located in the transonic regime. An intended application is in the conceptual development stages for early design optimizations of future airplanes. It is possible with additional effort to extend existing model capabilities to deal with supersonic transports optimal cruise parameters.



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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.



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