AER324 Aircraft Dynamics and Control

Module Description (subject to change)

Aerospace engineering is a fascinating area where knowledge from different disciplines is needed. The aim of this module is to provide the student with such a fundamental knowledge and understanding of the principles of aircraft performance, flight dynamics and the problems of controlling an aircraft’s motion. Various aspects of aircraft performance including straight, level flight and manoeuvres are covered. The module introduces the equations of motion for a rigid body aircraft and the aerodynamic forces and moments are then determined. Static and dynamic stability and response characteristics are defined. Flying and handling qualities of an aircraft, and disturbances affecting its motion, are analysed.

Credits: 10 (Spring semester)

Module Leader

Lyudmila Mihaylova

Professor Lyudmila Mihaylova

Amy Johnson Building

If you have any questions about the module please talk to me during the lectures or the labs in the first instance. It is likely that other students will learn from any questions you ask as well, so don’t be afraid to ask questions.

Outside of lectures please contact me via email, or drop in to see me.

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the modules students will be able to:

  1. Understand the nomenclature used in describing aircraft performance, stability and control [SM1p, SM2p]
  2. Determine fundamental aircraft performance measures at take off, landing and during manoeuvres
  3. Perform calculations and appreciate factors affecting the range and endurance of aircraft
  4. Understand the equations of motion of aircraft [SM1p, SM3p]
  5. Understand the difference between, and factors affecting, static and dynamic stability [SM1p, SM1fl, SM5m, EA1i, EA6m]
  6. Perform calculations to predict aircraft stability and appreciate relevant flight and handling qualities [SM3m, SM3fl, SM2fl, EA1i, EA2p, EA3i, EP1fl, EA3fl, EA6m, SM4m, SM6m]
  7. Understand and apply control system analysis and design methodologies to autopilots, flight control systems and stability augmentation systems [SM3m]
This module satisfies the AHEP3 (Accreditation of Higher Education Programmes, Third Edition) Learning Outcomes that are listed in brackets after each learning outcome above. For further details on AHEP3 Learning Outcomes, see the downloads section of our accreditation webpage.


  • Aerodynamic nomenclature, forces and moments acting on aircraft.
  • Aircraft performance.
  • Londitudinal and lateral static stability and control.
  • Aircraft equations of motion, axis systems and stability derivatives.
  • Longitudinal and lateral dynamic stability.
  • Phugoid and short period approximations.
  • Flight and handling qualities.
  • Sprial and Dutch roll modes.
  • Automatic flight control systems.
  • Instrument landing systems.
  • Effect of external disturbance.
Teaching Methods

Learning and Teaching Methods

NOTE: This summary of teaching methods is representative of a normal Semester. Owing to the ongoing disruption from Covid-19, the exact method of delivery will be different in 2020/21.

Lectures: 22 hours
Tutorials: 2 hours
Independent Study: 76 hours

Teaching Materials

Learning and Teaching Materials

All teaching materials will be available via Blackboard (MOLE).



Practical Flight test assignment (40%).

Online synchronous test (60%)

No resit examination is available for this module.



There will be three main opportunities for feedback during this module:

  1. Detailed feedback will be provided on the Flight Laboratory assignment. The content of this assignment covers much of the technical content of the module and will therefore provide a valuable source of feedback on students understanding of the module material. Feedback will be provided both to individuals and also the class as a whole on common issues.
  2. During lectures a number of examples will be worked through that will provide opportunities for students to gauge their understanding of the module. These will also provide opportunities for students to ask questions and gain feedback through these. Students can also discuss their understanding at the end of lectures or via email/meetings with the lecturer.
  3. A brief summary of how the class performed in the examination, both on the paper overall and on individual questions will be provided shortly after the examinations board. Students will also have the opportunity to view the example answers and to see their scripts.
Student Evaluation

Student Evaluation

Students are encouraged to provide feedback during the module direct to the lecturer. Students will also have the opportunity to provide formal feedback via the Faculty of Engineering Student Evaluation Survey at the end of the module.

You can view the latest Department response to the survey feedback here.

Recommended Reading

Recommended Reading

  • Nikolai, L. and Carichner, G., Fundamentals of Aircraft and Airship Design, Volume I - Aircraft Design, 2010. [available in Information Commons, 629.1341(N)]
  • Russell, J.B., Performance and Stability of Aircraft, Butterworth-Heinemann, 1996, [Available in Information Commons and St. George’s Library, 629,13236 (R)]
  • Nelson, R.C., Flight Stability and Automatic Control, 2nd Edition, McGraw-Hill, 1998 [Available in Information Commons and St. George’s Library, 629,13236 (N)]
  • McLean, D., Automatic Flight Control Systems, Prentice-Hall, 1990 [Available in Information Commons and St. George’s Library, 629,135 (M)]
  • Hill, D., Fundamentals of Airplane Flight Mechanics, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg, 2007. [Available online]
  • Etkin, B. and Reid, L.D., Dynamics of Flight: Stability and Control, 3rd Ed., John Wiley & Sons, 1996 [Available in Information Commons and St. George’s Library, 629.13236 (E)]
  • Cook, M.V., Flight Dynamics Principles, Butterworth-Heinemann, 2013 [Available in Information Commons, 629.1323 (C)]
  • Barnard, R.H. and Philpott, D.R., Aircraft Flight: a description of the physical principles of aircraft flight, 2nd Ed., Pearson, 1994 [Available in Information Commons, 629.1323 (B)]
  • Pallett, E.H.J and Coyle, S., Automatic Flight Control, 4th Ed., Blackwell, 1993 [Available in Information Commons and St. George’s Library, 629.135 (P)]