Endurance (aeronautics)

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In aviation, endurance is the maximum length of time that an aircraft can spend in cruising flight. Endurance is different from range, which is a measure of distance flown. For example, a typical sailplane exhibits high endurance characteristics but poor range characteristics.

Endurance can be defined as:

E=\int_{t_1}^{t_2}dt=-\int_{W_1}^{W_2}\frac{dW}{F}=\int_{W_2}^{W_1}\frac{dW}{F}

where W stands for fuel weight, F for fuel flow, and t for time.

Endurance can factor into aviation design in a number of ways. Some aircraft, such as the P-3 Orion or U-2 spy plane, require high endurance characteristics as part of their mission profile (often referred to as loiter time (on target)). The Endurance plays a prime factor in finding out the fuel fraction for an aircraft. The Endurance, like range, is also related to fuel efficiency; fuel-efficient aircraft will tend to exhibit good endurance characteristics.

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