93905 - Flight Mechanics

Course Unit Page


This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.

Quality education

Academic Year 2022/2023

Learning outcomes

At the end of the module, the student knows the fundamentals of aircraft static stability, controllability and maneuverability. In particular he learns the analytical tools to deal with problems related to longitudinal and lateral-directional preliminary design and performance analysis. The acquired knowledge also allows the student to address aircraft trim and loading problems.

Course contents

Dynamical systems analysis and control

Continuous-time dynamical systems. Introduction to dynamical systems. Movement vs. equilibrium, linearization, stability.

Laplace transform and transfer functions. Laplace transform. Transfer function of a linear dynamic system. Definition of system dynamical modes. Sub-systems and composition of block diagrams.

Stability and elementary response. Stability of a linear system. Temporal analysis of 1st and 2nd order systems. Role of system’s zeros on temporal behavior.

Harmonic analysis. Steady-state theorem and the harmonic response function. Bode diagram, construction of bode diagram from elementary terms. Filtering property of dynamic systems.

Aircraft Static Stability

Introduction to aircraft stability. Analysis of aerodnamic forces and moments. Equilibrium points, longitudinal static stability, definition of neutral point, controllability problem. Directional and lateral stability and controllability. Fundamentals of aircraft dynamics.


Ogata, Modern Control Engineering, Pearson College Div.

McLean, Automatic Flight Control Systems, Prentice Hall.

Stevens Lewis, and Johnson, Aircraft Control and Simulation: Dynamics, Controls Design, and Autonomous Systems, Blackwell Pub.

McRuer, Ashkenas, and Graham, Aircraft Dynamics and Automatic Control, Princeton Unversity Press.

Teaching methods

Class lectures.

Numerical exercises and simulations.

Assessment methods

Written exam: theory and exercises.

Teaching tools

Flight simulation software.

Numerical exercises and simulations.

Symbolic calculus tool.

Office hours

See the website of Fabrizio Giulietti