- Academic Registry
Programme & Unit Catalogues

ME30041: Aircraft stability & control

[Page last updated: 04 August 2021]

Academic Year: 2021/2
Owning Department/School: Department of Mechanical Engineering
Credits: 6 [equivalent to 12 CATS credits]
Notional Study Hours: 120
Level: Honours (FHEQ level 6)
Semester 1
Assessment Summary: CW 15%, EX 85%
Assessment Detail:
  • Coursework (CW 15%)
  • Examination (EX 85%)
Supplementary Assessment:
ME30041 Re-Assessment Examination (where allowed by programme regulations)
Description: Aims:
To give an understanding of the principles of control of aerospace vehicles, the significance of the permitted centre of gravity limits which must be considered when loading an aircraft, static and dynamic stability of aircraft, and basic orbital mechanics applied to space vehicle control.
To enable the student to understand and analyse both flight test and wind tunnel results pertaining to aircraft static and dynamic stability.

Learning Outcomes:
After taking this unit the student should be able to:
* Estimate stability margins for any given conventional or tail-less aircraft.
* Analyse and interpret both wind tunnel and flight test results concerned with aircraft static and dynamic stability and trim.
* Perform basic analysis of spacecraft orbits and manoeuvres.

Problem solving; numeracy; working independently.

Rigid aircraft behaviour. Basic specification of forces and moment on an aircraft. Properties of aerofoils and controls. Static stability criterion. Static and manoeuvre margins, both stick fixed and stick free. Flight test measurements and wind tunnel analysis. Springs and weights in the elevator circuit. Power assistance for the pilot and artificial feel. Dynamic stability: an introduction. Stability derivatives. Orbit of a body under gravity. Orbit changes and spacecraft manoeuvre. Flight test laboratory. Topics for self study that could be examined.

Programme availability:

ME30041 is Compulsory on the following programmes:

Department of Mechanical Engineering
  • UEME-AFB26 : BEng(Hons) Aerospace Engineering (Year 3)
  • UEME-AKB26 : BEng(Hons) Aerospace Engineering with Year long work placement (Year 4)
  • UEME-AFM04 : MEng(Hons) Aerospace Engineering (Year 3)
  • UEME-AKM04 : MEng(Hons) Aerospace Engineering with Year long work placement (Year 4)

ME30041 is Optional on the following programmes:

Department of Mechanical Engineering
  • UEME-AFM16 : MEng(Hons) Mechanical Engineering (Year 4)
  • UEME-AKM16 : MEng(Hons) Mechanical Engineering with Year long work placement (Year 5)
  • UEME-AFM38 : MEng(Hons) Mechanical Engineering with Manufacturing and Management (Year 4)
  • UEME-AKM38 : MEng(Hons) Mechanical Engineering with Manufacturing and Management with Year long work placement (Year 5)


  • This unit catalogue is applicable for the 2021/22 academic year only. Students continuing their studies into 2022/23 and beyond should not assume that this unit will be available in future years in the format displayed here for 2021/22.
  • Programmes and units are subject to change in accordance with normal University procedures.
  • Availability of units will be subject to constraints such as staff availability, minimum and maximum group sizes, and timetabling factors as well as a student's ability to meet any pre-requisite rules.
  • Find out more about these and other important University terms and conditions here.