Afterburner fuel only lasts so long; but how long exactly? Excessive frame-counting ensues inside.
Actual reference data on the ESFs is incredibly hard to come by, for SOE never releases any of that stuff. We are left with mining the data ourselves which is incredibly tedious, but I did it anyways.
The spreadsheet below captures two different data sets in regards to the performance of ESF afterburners for horizontal velocity: one from approximately a year ago (March 2013, around GU04) by Calder; and one gathered more recently, in May 2014 (post-ESF Update), by myself.
The purpose of the spreadsheet is to present the raw data “as is,” as well as to provide readable spreadsheets and useful and informative graphs to invite fruitful comparisons of and between the two different data sets.
More information on methodology and execution of the flight tests, as well as additional pointers on reading the data and more, can be found in the spreadsheet’s About section.
Differences between the data sets new and old were to be expected in light of the various changes to the in-game flight model including, with the ESF Update (Feb. 2014), the external afterburner fuel tanks certification line. Comparing 2013 with 2014, one can observe a decrease in afterburner duration of up to 0.4 s to a new total of approximately 8.0 s afterburner duration on average across the board.
Not apparent from the data gathered in the spreadsheet, but observable from the recorded video footage, is that by the time the aircraft has expended all its afterburner fuel returning to its default cruising speed, it had already had time to regenerate 5-7 afterburner pips depending on the ESF.