AAE 56500: Guidance and Control of Aerospace Vehicles


Aircraft flight control system design and analysis using classical and modern control design methods. Aircraft flying qualities and design of flight control systems to satisfy flying qualities dynamic objectives.

Format: 3 hrs lecture per week

Credit hours: 3

Status: Elective, Dynamics and Control

Offered: Spring

Pre-requisite: AAE 364; AAE 546 recommended

Co-requisite: None

Course Instructor: Prof. Andrisani

Text: Stevens, B., and Lewis, F., Aircraft Control and Simulation, John Wiley and Sons, Inc. New York, 1992

Assessment Method: Grading to weighted 1/3 on homework, 1/3 on a project and 1/3 on the final exam

Course Objective:

This course is about understanding the desirable dynamic properties that a piloted aircraft should possess, e.g. aircraft flying qualities. These qualities become the dynamic objectives which students also learn to achieve by designing flight control systems. The unique aspect of the course is that students come to appreciate the interrelationships between control design methodology (each with its own mechanisms for adjustment of closed-loop dynamic properties) with both achieved and desired aircraft flying qualities.

Necessary Background:

Students should be familiar with classical control design methods, particularly with root locus method and aircraft flight dynamics.

Topics (number of Lectures):

  • Review of Aircraft Flight Mechanics (5)
  • Aircraft Handling Qualities (classical modal properties, equivalent systems, bandwidth criterion, Neal-Smith criterion, Smith-Geddes criterion) (15)
  • Design of Stability Argumentation Systems and Command Augmentation Systems using root locus (10)
  • Design of multi-input-multi-output control systems using eigen-space assignment and the linear quadratic regulator. (10)

Relationship of course to program objectives:

Students form design teams (2-4 students each) to formulate and execute the team based semester project (2b). The objectives of the team project are to carefully state the dynamic objective of their closed loop aircraft (specify flying qualities) and then to design a flight control system to achieve those flying qualities. The fact that the students formulate their own project is an open-ended problem (2a). The fact that students design the concept and details of their own control system is also an open-ended problem (2a). Students make a final oral presentation of their project results during the fifteenth week of the semester. This gives them practice in oral and graphical communication (2c). Since the very nature of the student project is student specified, students select a topic that is personally and professionally important to them. Then they research the problem (3) and apply the necessary control design methodology to solve the problem.

Prepared by: Dominick Andrisani

Date: June 1, 2001