Scholarly Communications Project



Glenn D. Schilling

Master's Thesis submitted to the Faculty of the Virginia Tech in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of

Master of Science


Civil Engineering


Antonio A. Trani, Ph.D., Chair
Donald R. Drew, Ph.D.
Richard G. Greene, Ph.D.

February 7, 1997
Blacksburg, Virginia


This research involves the development of an aircraft fuel consumption model to simplify Bela Collins of the MITRE Corporation aircraft fuelburn model in terms of level of computation and level of capability. MATLAB and its accompanying Neural Network Toolbox, has been applied to data from the base model to predict fuel consumption. The approach to the base model and neural network is detailed in this paper. It derives from the basic concepts of energy balance. Multivariate curve fitting techniques used in conjunction with aircraft performance data derive the aircraft specific constants. Aircraft performance limits are represented by empirical relationships that also utilize aircraft specific constants. It is based on generally known assumptions and approximations for commercial jet operations. It will simulate fuel consumption by adaptation of a specific aircraft using constants that represent the relationship of lift-to-drag and thrust-to-fuel flow.

The neural network model invokes the output from MITREšs algorithm and provides: (1) a comparison to the polynomial fuelburn function in the fuelburn post- processor of the FAA Airport and Airspace Simulation Model (SIMMOD), (2) an established sensitivity of system performance for a range of variables that effect fuel consumption, (3) a comparison of post fuel burn (fuel consumption algorithms) techniques to new techniques, and (4) the development of a trained demo neural network.

With the powerful features of optimization, graphics, and hierarchical modeling, the MATLAB toolboxes proved to be effective in this modeling process.

Full text (PDF) 372,505 Bytes

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