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Unit information: Aircraft Dynamics 4 in 2016/17

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Unit name Aircraft Dynamics 4
Unit code AENGM1300
Credit points 10
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Professor. Lowenberg
Open unit status Not open

AENG20001, EMAT 20200, AENG31300



School/department Department of Aerospace Engineering
Faculty Faculty of Engineering


The aim of this unit is to bring together elements of flight dynamics and control theory into the context of aircraft design and response.

After a brief revision of aircraft equations of motion and response modes, the equations of motion are converted to transfer function format in order to perform (mainly) single-input-single-output control design.

Types of aircraft control and the importance of aircraft-pilot coupling and pilot handling qualities for aircraft manoeuvre demand systems are then discussed.

Common aircraft feedback structures are then developed, with emphasis on manoeuvre demand systems, along with relevant filtering and compensation techniques and examples for real aircraft (A320, EAP). Influence of typical non-linear and structural mode interactions are described and an extended numerical example is analysed.

Modeling, analysis and design of multivariable control systems in state-space form are described.

Fundamental properties of discrete (digital) implementation of control laws are introduced.

Sources of non-linearity in flight mechanics are described, along with associated aerodynamic and inertial phenomena and resulting flight dynamics behaviour. Implications for both agile/manoeuvrable aircraft and airliner upset are discussed.

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of the unit the student will be in a position to:

- design and evaluate simple linear aircraft controllers, using transfer function and state space methods, to account for manoeuvre demand requirements, stability and handling qualities, basic implementation issues (including some fundamentals of digital controllers) and limitations associated with actuators and filters;

- understand the sources of non-linearity in flight mechanics at high incidence and the associated challenges;

- perform simple analyses of aircraft response to discrete and continuous atmospheric disturbances.

Teaching details


Assessment Details

20% Coursework 80% 2-hour exam

Reading and References

Cook, M.V. Flight Dynamics Principles, Arnold, 2nd ed. 2007 or 3rd ed. 2013.

Etkin, B. & Reid, L.D. Dynamics of Flight - Stability and Control. Wiley, New York, 3rd ed. 1996.

McLean, D. Automatic Flight Control Systems, Prentice Hall, 1990.

Phillips, W.F. Mechanics of Flight, J. Wiley, 2nd ed., 2009.

Hodgkinson, J. Aircraft Handling Qualities, Blackwell Science, 1999.

Pamadi, B.N. Performance, Stability, Dynamics and Control of Airplanes, AIAA Education Series, 1998.

Nelson, R.C. Flight Stability and Automatic Control, McGraw-Hill, 1998.

Russell, J.B. Performance and Stability of Aircraft, Butterworth-Heinemann, 1996.