I don't know if this is the right place to ask, but I am looking for lift-to-drag ratios (L/D) of different airliners. I have found a paper [1] which has some estimates of L/D for some jetliners, but it's a limited sample Table 3. Estimated aerodynamic characteristics of jet airplanes (L1011, a few Boeing, Douglas and Airbus). This question also looks promising, but delivers airfoil numbers, not aircraft numbers, sadly. Is there any online resource or a place that might point me in the right direction?

[1] Historical evolution of air transport productivity and efficiency Rodrigo Martínez-Val, Emilio Pérez and José F. Palacín Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, Madrid, Spain, 28040

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ In a book written by the noted aerospace engineer Henk Tennekes, (The Simple Science of Flight, MIT Press, 2009) the L/D of the Boeing 777 is mentioned 'as almost 20', and the best L/D of a Boeing 747 as 18. $\endgroup$
    – xxavier
    Oct 25, 2018 at 12:41
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @xxavier - that looks like an answer to me. $\endgroup$
    – FreeMan
    Oct 25, 2018 at 14:02

1 Answer 1


In quotable literature, I recommend „Aerodynamic Design of Transport Aircraft“ by Obert. In other useful stuff, there is a very useable (but not proven by Boeing) aerodynamic model of a 787 available on the Piano X website.

I‘d add that for any really useful analysis other than level flight, getting hold of a decent engine model giving maximum and minimum (net) thrust as well as fuel flows throughout the operating range will, in my experience, prove much harder than the aerodynamics...

  • $\begingroup$ With regard to thrust and fuel flow, would you find some of that info in the performance section of the flight manual (assuming that is available on line)? $\endgroup$
    – Penguin
    Oct 27, 2018 at 3:36
  • $\begingroup$ @Penguin True, if that’s available. That’ll get you useable takeoff, climb and probably cruise. For descent at idle thrust, engine and particularly nacelle drag is a very important factor, and it’s not always easy to even find out whether that’s wrapped into the aerodynamic model (not often the case) or the engine model; if the latter, that particular data is hard to get by as it will not be in normal aircraft or engine documentation. $\endgroup$ Oct 27, 2018 at 9:47

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .