In the Aircraft Performance course, the aircraft was assumed to be in a steady-state (e.g. steady cruise, climb, turn, glide), with the forces and moments balanced. The subject of Flight Dynamics is concerned with what happens when the forces and moments are not in balance. It deals with
1. The question of stability: i.e. whether the aircraft will tend to settle down to steady state following a disturbance, or whether it will depart, possibly entering dangerous flight regimes.
2. The aircraft's dynamic response to control inputs and atmospheric disturbances.
This lecture course will build on aerodynamics, aircraft performance, mechanics and system theory to develop the theory of flight dynamics. This will be followed by a series of lectures given by Dr Shenton devoted to flight control systems. One of the key issues considered at an early stage in Flight Dynamics is stability. Roughly speaking, this equates to the tendency of the aircraft to return to an equilibrium flight condition following a perturbation from its flight path caused by an atmospheric disturbance or pilot inputs on the controls. The nature of the aircraft's response is determined by solving the equations of motion which capture the "physics" of the system. Before considering the solutions to the dynamical equations, it is customary to consider so-called static stability. This deals with the question of whether the forces and moments generated by disturbances tend to be stabilizing or destabilizing.