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Fuel Calculation for GA Aircraft

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         I'm trying to find some information on fuel planning for my carenado f33a bonanza. In the past i've just filled her up to the top, but now i would like to plan more realistically. I've tried to look at some fuel  calculation software from the avsim library but there is not much for GA and nothing for the bonanza. I also did a a search online but did not find much info i could use/decipher

         Any kind of help would be greatly appreciated

cheers Rich

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Many thanks. I'll try and understand this best I can, however on first glance, I may need to ask a few more questions!




Richard McDermott


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Don't forget to also plan for headwind and tailwind components for winds aloft and also density altitude. In other words you need to calculate ground speed from trye airspeed to calculate travel time and performance related fuel consumption.


I use FS Build 2.4 which includes a Beech A36 performance profile, a conventional tail Bonanza called the Sierra. I auto-generated an altitude 7,000 feet route from GA airport KANE just north of Minneapolis, MN inn the city of Anoka to KGRB in Green Bay, Wisconsin. I then used Active Sky 6.5 to download a noon (1700Z) weather archive and loaded that FS9 plan into it with a 7,000 feet cruise and a TAS of 140 knots.


Here is the AS65 weather report for the planned route which I loaded into it.




FSBuild connects to the last weather snapshot created by AS and uses that data for planning. The route I used is:


KANE WLSTN5 WLSTN AUW KGRB and the FSB navlog including fuel planning looks like this:




Now in the navlog you can see in the M/H M/C heading the effects of the wind which are included M?H. At waypoint DWIYT we have an mag heading of 79 for a mag course of 78. The wind at 7,000 is interpreted to be from 251 degrees at 17 knots. We have a TAS at 163 (The A36 FSB Profile) and a ground speed of 179 knots. this makes sense since we are traveling east here and the wind from 251 results in a tailwind component.


The fuel burn profile in FSB's A36 profile calculates the fuel burn in pounds for the time of each phase and that is near the top of the navlog.


(In FSB if you want you can create your profile from aircraft performance tables. In real life in 1974 I trained on the A36 for a VFR limited commercial pilot license. I did as part of that a flight with that aircraft from Anoka, MN, to Bridgeport Airport in Stratford, CN, about 50 miles north of New York City. I did it in a relaxed three legs.)


Now, if you have the performance tables and the winds and temperatures aloft, you can calculate a fuel burn for your flight plan.


Here is the FS9 flight plan I used for this illustration:


title=KANE to KGRB
description=KANE, KGRB
departure_id=KANE, N45* 08.41', W093* 12.36',+000912.00
destination_id=KGRB, N44* 29.04', W088* 07.46',+000695.00
waypoint.0=KANE, A, N45* 08.41', W093* 12.36', +000000.00,
waypoint.1=SNINE, I, N45* 15.06', W092* 39.02', +000000.00,
waypoint.2=DWIYT, I, N45* 18.12', W092* 17.15', +000000.00,
waypoint.3=WLSTN, I, N45* 28.26', W091* 00.55', +000000.00,
waypoint.4=AUW, V, N44* 50.48', W089* 35.11', +000000.00,
waypoint.5=KGRB, A, N44* 29.04', W088* 07.46', +000000.00,



In 1974 I had a circular slide rule to convert IAS to TAS. I also had an E-6 mechanical calculator to determine head/tail and crosswind components.


You can search for VFR flight plan forms and descriptions of those ancient calculators.


See if you can find usually an Excel spreadsheet that will take as input the performance data or at least you TAS and wind and leg headings to calculate your fuel burn.


You can also look for the on line training manuals for basic pilot training at the faa site in the US.


Hope this helps explain the complexities of flight planning.

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Wow, thanks. This is going to be more complex then I first thought. I think I'm going to have to learn this one step at a time



Richard McDermott


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chapters 4 and 10 while for IFR can help.


has lots of useful material about performance and flying the aircraft.


Here is a payware classic manual of private pilot training:


I don't know if it gets into weather and planning, navigation, etc. It should as the description includes:


. . . covers all procedures including the solo, cross-country, and night flights.. .

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