UCLA Extension

Flight Mechanics, Stability, and Control

This course covers aircraft performance, flight mechanics, stability, and control. A basic review of aerodynamics and aircraft propulsion systems is given to set up the aircraft performance equations. Aircraft performance topics, such as top speed, climbing, range/endurance, turning, and takeoff and landing, are presented.

The second half of the course focuses on aircraft stability and control. Static and dynamic stability is discussed, and the aircraft equations of motion are modeled in a MATLAB/Simulink simulation to study the effect of stability derivatives on aircraft response. In addition, example autopilots and UAV guidance laws are demonstrated with the simulation.

Coordinator and Lecturer

Damien M. Toohey, MS, Manager, Guidance Performance Section, Guidance Analysis Department, The Aerospace Corporation, El Segundo, California. Mr. Toohey has worked at The Aerospace Corporation since 2004. He is currently responsible for mission support for launch vehicles; analysis of guidance, navigation, and control systems for Delta II, Delta IV, Atlas V, and Ares I-X launch vehicles; and development of launch vehicle simulators and Monte Carlo tools to determine injection accuracy, range safety requirements, and flight performance reserve. His other research interests include aircraft adaptive control techniques, optimal control allocation for reentry vehicles, missile guidance and control, and UAV guidance, navigation, and control.

Since 2007, Mr. Toohey has served as a lecturer at UCLA’s Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering teaching aircraft flight mechanics, preliminary aircraft design, and aerospace structures design.

Daily Schedule

Day 1

Aerodynamics Theory and Propulsion Systems

  • Course introduction and brief history of aircraft
  • Lift: 2D airfoils, 3D wings
  • Drag: parasite, induced, drag estimation techniques
  • Propulsion: piston engine, turbojets, turbofans

Day 2

Aircraft Performance

  • Aircraft performance introduction, glide, rate of climb
  • Cruise performance: range, endurance
  • Takeoff, landing performance
  • Maneuvering flight

Day 3

Aircraft Stability

  • Static stability: stable vs. unstable, neutral point, static margin
  • Dynamic stability, stability derivatives
  • Longitudinal modes of motion, phugoid, short period
  • Lateral modes of motion: roll mode, spiral, Dutch roll
  • Unique/unconventional aircraft

Day 4

Aircraft GN&C

  • Aircraft simulation
  • Aircraft guidance and control concepts

For more information contact the Short Course Program Office:
shortcourses@uclaextension.edu | (310) 825-3344 | fax (310) 206-2815