Aircraft Flight Dynamics

Robert F. Stengel

Princeton University
School of Engineering and Applied Science
Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Aircraft Flight Dynamics introduces students to the performance, stability, and control of aircraft ranging from micro-uninhabited air vehicles through general aviation, jet transport, and fighter aircraft to Mars planes and re-entry vehicles. Particular attention is given to mathematical models and techniques for analysis, simulation, and evaluation of flying qualities, with brief discussion of guidance, navigation, and control. Topics include equations of motion, configuration aerodynamics, analysis of linear systems, and longitudinal/lateral/directional motions.

While the course focuses on the Science and Mathematics of flight dynamics, historical antecedents are presented as Case Studies in aircraft performance, stability, and control. The science and mathematics component is based on Flight Dynamics (2004, 2022). The case studies were initially motivated by Airplane Stability and Control: A History of the Technologies that Made Aviation Possible (2002), M. J. Abzug and E. E. Larrabee, and they are enhanced by reference to current web-based content.

Syllabus and Assignments

Lecture Slides

Introduction to Aircraft Flight Dynamics: A Virtual Reference Book




Flight Simulation


Aircraft Design and Flight Testing

References, Data, and Images

Aviation History and Museums

Publications and Reports

Aeronautical and Technical Organizations

Aircraft Manufacturers

key words: aircraft flight dynamics, flight mechanics, stability and control, flying qualities, handling qualities, configuration aerodynamics, short period, phugoid, Dutch roll, roll, spiral, aeronautical case histories, aircraft performance, longitudinal dynamics, lateral-directional dynamics, coupled motions, inertial coupling, high angle of attack, aeroelasticity, nonlinear equations of motion, flight simulation, flight vehicles, earth's atmosphere.
last updated October 8, 2022, stengel at
Copyright 2022 by Robert F. Stengel. All rights reserved.