Available in 2022
Course code



10 units


4000 level

Course handbook


This course builds upon the flight dynamics modelling in 'AERO3000 Flight Dynamics' and considers dynamics, stability, response and hardware integration aspects of flight control system development. It treats the representation of aircraft response to deterministic control inputs in the frequency domain. Following this, the response of an aircraft to stochastic inputs (wind gusts) is investigated after developing the necessary probabilistic tools to represent wind gusts. A detailed revision of classical control theory and design methods is given in the context of control design for full multi-modal longitudinal and lateral-directional cross-coupled flight control problems. The course culminates with a full six-degree-of-freedom aircraft flight control design exercise, including implementation and testing in a flight simulation framework. Students will gain experience from group activities involving flight control loop analysis, design, implementation and testing in a flight simulation environment.



  • Semester 2 - 2022

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the course students will be able to:

1. Analyse an aircraft's response to control inputs in the frequency domain using Laplace Transforms and Transfer Function representations.

2. Analyse an aircraft's response to disturbances (wind gust inputs) by combining Transfer Function representations with gust PSD's.

3. Articulate the principles of stability augmentation systems and autopilot control systems in aircraft operation, their functions and purposes.

4. Apply classical frequency domain loop analysis to understand closed loop system stability and response, and design PID, Lead, Lag and Lead-Lag compensators using Bode and Root-locus design techniques.

5. Design and implement multi-loop control design solutions in the time domain and evaluate their effectiveness.

6. Operate cockpit flight control hardware and discuss the physical limitations and interactions between control modes, and the connection and interaction between cockpit flight control, navigation and flight management avionics components.


  1. Review of aircraft flight dynamics, stability and response to control inputs. 
  2. Review of Laplace Transforms and transfer function representations of system response to control.
  3. Analysis of connections between time-domain and frequency domain system responses to inputs.
  4. Review of probability theory and stochastic response modelling tools.
  5. Modelling gust inputs in the frequency domain. Aircraft response to gusts.
  6. Review of classical Single-Input-Single-Output (SISO) frequency-domain control design tools and methods.
  7. Flight control loop design, specifications and synthesis.
  8. Multi-loop system response analysis and design considerations.
  9. Implementation and evaluation of classical flight control solutions.
  10. Effects of sensor and actuator dynamics and positioning. 
  11. Considerations of control system interactions with other aircraft systems.
  12. Case studies – lessons from incidents and accidents involving flight control system design, stability and failure. 
  13. Group activities in flight control system design, implementation, evaluation, and integration with avionics.

Assumed knowledge

AERO2000 Aircraft Performance and Operations; AERO3000 Flight Dynamics; AERO3600 Embedded Control Systems; ENGG2440 Modelling and Control; MECH2360 Dynamics of Machines

Assessment items

Report: Aircraft Response to Flight Controls

Report: Aircraft Response to Stochastic Inputs

Quiz: Case Studies

Report: Flight Control System Design Project

Contact hours



Face to Face On Campus 3 hour(s) per Week for Full Term


Face to Face On Campus 2 hour(s) per Week for Full Term

The University of Newcastle acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands within our footprint areas: Awabakal, Darkinjung, Biripai, Worimi, Wonnarua, and Eora Nations. We also pay respect to the wisdom of our Elders past and present.