Thrust to Weight Ratio Calculator

Created by Krishna Nelaturu
Last updated: Nov 16, 2022

Our thrust-to-weight ratio calculator is here to help you estimate one of the essential parameters for aircraft design 🛩️- the trust-to-weight ratio. Whether you're designing an RC drone or a full-fledged aircraft, you can determine whether the thrust-to-weight ratio of your design is to your liking using this calculator. You can also look up the thrust-to-weight ratio of some famous aircraft and engines for inspiration!

In the following article, let's take a closer look at the thrust-to-weight ratio and how to calculate it. If you need a refresher on thrust, we recommend you first go through our rocket thrust calculator.

What is thrust-to-weight ratio?

The thrust-to-weight ratio is the ratio of thrust that an engine produces to the aircraft's weight. It is given by:

Thrust to Weight ratio=ThrustWeight\small \text{Thrust to Weight ratio} = \frac{\rm{Thrust}}{\rm{Weight}}

A higher thrust-to-weight ratio indicates that the engine is powerful enough to propel the aircraft even while carrying a large load. The thrust-to-weight ratio is critical in fighter jets, which must accelerate quickly and perform complex maneuvers. However, it is also a crucial factor in determining the performance of any aircraft.

By understanding how the thrust-to-weight ratio works, pilots and engineers can ensure that an airplane has enough power to take off, reach cruising speed, and overcome any unexpected obstacles.

Drone motor selection depends on the required thrust, where the thrust-to-weight ratio is essential. Our drone motor calculator has everything you need to choose the proper motor.

How to calculate thrust-to-weight ratio

To calculate the thrust-to-weight ratio of an aircraft or an engine, you require two values:

  1. Thrust: You must carefully choose which thrust value is important to your case. The maximum thrust, average thrust, afterburner thrust, etc., are all possible choices.
  2. Weight: Again, there are different weight choices, such as maximum take-off weight, weight with 100% fuel, etc. Choose the value crucial for your calculation.

Once these values are available, make sure they're both in the same units since the thrust-to-weight ratio is a dimensionless quantity. Then, proceed to divide the thrust by the weight to get the ratio.

Using this thrust-to-weight ratio calculator

Our thrust-to-weight ratio calculator offers two modes of calculation:

  1. Single mode, where you can perform a single calculation:

    • Enter the thrust value.
    • Provide the weight of the aircraft. The tool will calculate the thrust-to-weight ratio.
    • You can also look up thrust-to-weight ratios of famous flights and engines. Click on the advanced mode and select an aircraft or engine from the list.
  2. Compare mode, which lets you compare two separate entries and decide which you like best:

    • Enter the thrust and weight values of the two different designs.
    • The calculator will show you how they compare against each other.
    • You can use this feature to compare two different designs. You can also compare your design against any famous flight/engine from the list available in the advanced mode.

We recommend our drag equation calculator next so you can ensure your design is aerodynamically sound!

Krishna Nelaturu
Thrust to weight ratio
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