# Flight Dynamics

Flight dynamics is the study of the performance, stability, and control of vehicles flying through the air or in outer space.It is concerned with how forces acting on the vehicle determine its velocity and attitude with respect to time.

For a fixed-wing aircraft, its changing orientation with respect to the local air flow is represented by two critical angles, the angle of attack of the wing ("alpha") and the angle of attack of the vertical tail, known as the sideslip angle ("beta"). A sideslip angle will arise if an aircraft yaws about its center of gravity and if the aircraft sideslips bodily, i.e. the center of gravity moves sideways. These angles are important because they are the principal source of changes in the aerodynamic forces and moments applied to the aircraft.

Spacecraft flight dynamics involve three main forces: propulsive (rocket engine), gravitational, and atmospheric resistance. Propulsive force and atmospheric resistance have significantly less influence over a given spacecraft compared to gravitational forces.

This topic includes the following resources and journeys:

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20 items

## Geodetic Coordinates: Computing Latitude and Longitude

31 min
Intermediate
Video
Theory

In this video we show how to compute the geodetic latitude and terrestrial longitude if given the velocity north and east. This is useful for simulating a body moving over a spheroid Earth...

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## Wind Tunnel Testing: Introduction and Data Acquisition

28 min
Intermediate
Video
Theory

This is the first of our 3 part series on wind tunnel testing. In this video, we introduce the concept of wind tunnel testing as well as discuss the process for acquiring aerodynamic data in...

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## Wind Tunnel Corrections and Data Reduction

171 min
Video
Theory

This is the second of our 3 part series on wind tunnel testing. In this video, we discuss 11 different corrections and data reduction processes that are applied to raw wind tunnel data to...

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## Wind Tunnel Data Analysis and Testing Considerations

111 min
Intermediate
Video
Theory

This is the last video in our 3 part series on wind tunnel testing. In this video, we discuss what typical plots of wind tunnel data might look like and how to extract relevant information...

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## Manipulating Aerodynamic Coefficients

25 min
Intermediate
Video
Theory

In this video we discuss some potential problems you may encounter when attempting to perform operations with dimensionless aerodynamic coefficients such as CL and CD.

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## Computing Euler Angles: Tracking Attitude Using Quaternions

74 min
Intermediate
Video
Theory

In this video we continue our discussion on how to track the attitude of a body in space using quaternions. The quaternion method is similar to the Euler Kinematical Equations and Poisson...

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## Vector Derivatives (the Equation of Coriolis) and the Angular Velocity Vecto...

72 min
Intermediate
Video
Theory

In this video we develop the Equation of Coriolis which describes how a vector in a rotating reference frame changes from the perspective of an observer in a non-rotating reference frame. We...

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## A Nonlinear, 6 DOF Dynamic Model of an Aircraft: the Research Civil Aircraft...

104 min
Intermediate
Video
Theory

In this video we develop a dynamic model of an aircraft by describing forces and moments generated by aerodynamic, propulsion, and gravity that act on the aircraft. This video outlines the...

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## Using a Homogeneous Transformation Matrix to Combine Rotation and Translatio...

63 min
Intermediate
Video
Theory

In this video we discuss how to properly deal with coordinate frames that are both rotated and translated from one another. We develop a homogeneous transformation matrix which combines a...

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## Coriolis Effect Demonstration (with Drones)

13 min
Intermediate
Video
Theory

We demonstrate how rotating reference frames give rise to the Coriolis effect and centrifugal acceleration. In this video, we approach this as a simple physics demonstration and examine...

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## Expressing Vectors in Different Frames Using Rotation Matrices

45 min
Intermediate
Video
Theory

In this video we develop notation to express a vector in different reference/coordinate frames. We then investigate how to use rotation matrices to translate from a vector expressed in one...

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## Building a Matlab/Simulink Model of an Aircraft: the Research Civil Aircraf...

51 min
Intermediate
Video
Theory

In this video we implement the RCAM model as a Matlab script that is called from a Simulink model. The result is a fully encapsulated Simulink model of a nonlinear, 6 DOF aircraft. Please...

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## Velocity & Acceleration in Non-Inertial Reference Frames (Coriolis &...

133 min
Intermediate
Video
Theory

In this video we derive a mathematical description of velocity and acceleration in non-inertial reference frame. We examine the effect of fictitious forces that are witnessed by observers on...

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## Simple Vector Mechanics: Inner Product, Scalar/Vector Projection, and Cross ...

51 min
Intermediate
Video
Theory

In this video we discuss several simple vector operations such as: 1. Computing the magnitude of a vector 2. The inner/dot product 3. The scalar and vector projection 4. The cross product

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## Trimming a Model of a Dynamic System Using Numerical Optimization

60 min
Intermediate
Video
Theory

In this video we show how to find a trim point of a dynamic system using numerical optimization techniques. We generate a cost function that corresponds to a straight and level flight...

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## Euler Angles and the Euler Rotation Sequence

70 min
Intermediate
Video
Theory

In this video we discuss how Euler angles are used to define the relative orientation of one coordinate frame to another.

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## Numerically Linearizing a Dynamic System

104 min
Intermediate
Video
Theory

In this video we show how to linearize a dynamic system using numerical techniques. In other words, the linearization process does not require an analytical description of the system. This...

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## Computing Euler Angles: The Euler Kinematical Equations and Poisson’s Kinema...

79 min
Intermediate
Video
Theory

In this video we discuss how the time rate of change of the Euler angles are related to the angular velocity vector of the vehicle. This allows us to design an algorithm to consume...

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## Derivation of Rodrigues’ Rotation Formula

43 min
Intermediate
Video
Theory

In this video we explain and derive Rodrigues’ Rotation Formula. This functions describes how to rotate an arbitrary vector about another arbitrary axis of rotation. This has applications to...

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## The Navigation Equations: Computing Position North, East, and Down

52 min
Intermediate
Video
Theory

In this video we show how to compute the inertial velocity of a rigid body in the vehicle-carried North, East, Down (NED) frame. This is achieved by rotating the velocity expressed in the...

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