I would like to gather data on the best glide ratio of different commercial aircraft. Unfortunately, it has proven non-trivial to obtain data aside from a few lucky examples.

Eurocontrol's BADA gives $c_L$ and $c_d$, which could be used to compute L/D. Unfortunately, their license explicitly prohibits comparison of different aircraft types. The open-source alternative OpenAP research project only contains data on a small number of aircraft and seems to be off in some cases (best glide ratio of a Cessna Citation II ~6).

Are L/D curves or glide polars available for commercial aircraft? Which is the best way to obtain data both for historical aircraft and current models?

I'm aware of the answers to the following questions:

the table on the Wikipedia page on Gliding Flight and a few prominent forum posts:

Forum post (condorsoaring.com), no source provided

Aircraft Model Glide Ratio
Boeing B707-320 19.4
Boeing 767-200 19.0
Douglas DC-8 17.9
Boeing 747-100 17.7
Douglas DC-10 17.7
Airbus A320 17.0
Lockeed Tristar L1011 17.0
Douglas DC-9 (1966) 16.5
Boeing B727-200 16.4
Douglas DC-3 14.7

Forum post (pprune.org), estimates etc.

Aircraft Model Glide Ratio
B767-200 17.9
B727 ~17
B757-200W ~19.5
B737-800W ~19.5
B777-200 ~19
B787-8 21-22

1 Answer 1


Your table looks at least partially wrong. A Boeing 707-320 never achieved an L/D of 19.4.

If you have more reliable figures for fuel consumption, engine efficiency and range, you can use the Breguet Range Equation to determine L/D. See this answer for an application.


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