ENME 489D - Flight Dynamics and Simulation

3 Credits


Findlay, David


Dynamics of Flight Stability and Control; by Bernard Etkin; Edition: #3; (Publisher: John Wiley & Sons).


PHYS 270
ENME 331


This course will cover the fundamentals of near earth flight mechanics associated with fixed wing air vehicle atmospheric flight.  Primary topics will include review of basic aerodynamics and an introduction to basics of configurational aero effects, flight performance, vehicle stability, and aeromechanics control.  This will be done through processes such as lectures, tests, homework assignments, lab events with flight simulators, and a special project involving an RC aircraft instrumentation and flight.  Periodic relevance to real-world examples of applied aerodynamics based on the instructors 30+ years of experience within the area of aeromechanics
toward military aviation will be included.


Understanding in fundamental principles required to address solution of basic flight mechanics analysis associated with low speed steady flight conditions.  Content includes:
  • Provide fundamental understanding of full aircraft aerodynamics, performance, and stability & control
  • Introduce a spectrum of key concepts and theories to grasp primary relevant topics
  • Introduce students to major elements of concern for analysis and evaluation of aircraft configurations
  • Experience within a team environment toward simulation and testing of a flight vehicle
  • Exposure to the Flight Simulator within the Lab

Mathematical formulations developed as classical theory of aircraft configuration aerodynamics.

Past, present and future state-of-the-art methods employed by applied aerodynamicists (including inherent limitations of the techniques.)

Add to the basic building blocks obtained with the previous course in the series course ENME 489D (Fundamentals of Aerodynamics of Atmospheric Flight Mechanics).


Course sections:
  • Background and basic aerodynamics terms/concepts
  • The flight environment
  • Fundamental Flight Performance
  • Static longitudinal stability
  • Longitudinal control & trim
  • Pull-up maneuver & other effects
  • Static lateral / directional stability & control

This class includes a brief review of applied aerodynamics and modern approaches in aircraft stability and control. Topics covered include static stability and trim; stability derivatives and characteristic longitudinal and lateral-directional motions; and physical effects of the wing, fuselage, and tail on aircraft motion. Control methods and systems are discussed, with emphasis on flight vehicle stabilization by classical and modern control techniques.

Further, course content includes an ability to assess the stability and control of an RC model aircraft to estimate basic aerodynamic parameters for a specific application. Evaluation of the assessment methods will be enabled through a teaming effort involving the instrumentation and flight testing.
Students will be involved with a hands-on introduction through the use of
  • Two (or more if desired) Flight Simulation Lab Events
    • everyone will fly and evaluate FW & RW aircraft flight simulators
  • Team Project
    • “Build”, Instrument, Measure, Analyze, Evaluate, and Document RC Aircraft

Learning Outcomes 

  • an ability to apply knowledge of mathematics, science, and engineering
  • an ability to function on multi-disciplinary teams
  • an ability to use the techniques, skills, and modern engineering tools necessary for engineering practice

Class/Laboratory Schedule 

  • One 160 minute lecture per week

Last Updated By 
David Findlay, June 2017