What is the typical fuel consumption per nautical mile of a mid-size aircraft carrier cruising at 20 knots ?



  1. 0 Votes

    First in order to solve this, we must gather some statistics:

    For one, let’s use an example plane (a lot of mid-size planes have different engines and body styles, so the calculations will be different for all of them).  I’m going to use the Boeing 787-8 for this equation.

    Now, let’s find out the 787’s data (this is a wikipedia citation [first citation]):

    Maximum fuel capacity: 33,528 US gal

    Range, fully loaded: 7,650–8,200 nmi

    Cruising Speed: Mach 0.85 (567 mph, 490 knots)

    If we take the Maximum fuel capacity, and divide it by the Range, fully loaded statistic, we should find out the nmi/gal ratio: which is 4.38 mni/gal or knots/gal.

    Since the “Cruising Phase” of aircrafts in general takes up most of the fuel consumption, the 787’s fuel will be mostly drained by that.  

    The deal is, this is a difficult set of calculations, as fuel consumption is generally a ratio per hour of a plane, not distance, or necessarily speed (That’s why you take the maximum flight ability and the maximum fuel capacity together).

    A plane that cruises at 20 knots will probably be a completely different type of mid-sized plane, and will have different calculations altogether (which I could not find specific data on; hence using the 787).

    There is a good forum for pilots that analyzes the situation completely (second citation).


    • a26
      0 Votes

      Thanks, but the question involved fuel consumption of a mid-size aircraft carrier, not a passenger aircraft. A recent newspaper column indicated that a naval vessel recently equipped with energy-conserving power “saved $2 million in fuel costs” on a round-about trip from a Mississipi port to one in CA. The figures on how much that saving plus actual cost amounted to weren’t provided. It’s something of a revelation to folks like myself who hadn’t thought about such things, that our navy uses a heckuva lot of fuel. Is nuclear power feasible for surface vessels as well as submarines?

  2. 0 Votes

    According to the staff of the USS Midway, a decomissioned supercarrier, the total capacity of their tanks is 2.5 million gallons of diesel to power the carrier, and 1.5 million gallons of jet fuel. They use about 10% of the diesel per day when they are cruising, so about 250,000 gallons of diesel per day. Jet fuel, from what I understand, is used at about the same rate, which would be 150,000 gallons per day while they are flying missions.

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