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SD2805 Flight Mechanics 9.0 credits

Many different types of forces act on an aircraft. Aerodynamics give rise to lift and drag, the engine gives thrust; different control surfaces are used to vary these forces to control the aircraft in flight. Flight mechanics is about simulating the aircraft's motion in the atmosphere and how its configuration affects stability and control.

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For course offering

Spring 2025 Start 14 Jan 2025 programme students

Application code


Headings with content from the Course syllabus SD2805 (Spring 2022–) are denoted with an asterisk ( )

Content and learning outcomes

Course contents

The course is based on lectures, the contents of which are applied in wind-tunnel testing and during computer labs. The exercises are performed in groups but the results must be presented individually. The first assignment in the course is a short introduction to Matlab, since the main part of the analysis is performed in this program. Here you can build your own "toolbox" to use in the successive assignments.

Parallel to the lectures you apply the theory in different labs where you also have to use your knowledge from earlier courses in aeronautics, solid mechanics, numerical methods and linear algebra. The course treats general equations of motion for aerial vehicles, models of aircraft and the atmosphere, and conditions for equilibrium. Thereafter linearization and solution of equations of motion. This forms the basis for analysis of trajectories, modes of motion as well as control analysis and synthesis. The course also gives an orientation on sensors and actuators.

Intended learning outcomes

The overall objectives of the course are that you should be able to:

  • formulate equations of motion for an aircraft in atmospheric flight,
  • motivate the assumptions made to simplify a flight mechanics problem,
  • analyze equilibrium and stability for an aircraft,
  • explain the basic modes of motion and related mechanisms of an aircraft,
  • design a basic control system using simplified equations of motion,
  • perform simple trajectory calculations by integrating the equations of motion in time,
  • present your results in a well written report.

Literature and preparations

Specific prerequisites

SD2601 Fundamentals of Flight or permission from the coordinator.

English B / English 6

Recommended prerequisites

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Examination and completion

If the course is discontinued, students may request to be examined during the following two academic years.

Grading scale

A, B, C, D, E, FX, F


  • LAB1 - Laboratory Work, 3.0 credits, grading scale: P, F
  • PRO1 - Project, 3.0 credits, grading scale: P, F
  • TEN1 - Examination, 3.0 credits, grading scale: P, F

Based on recommendation from KTH’s coordinator for disabilities, the examiner will decide how to adapt an examination for students with documented disability.

The examiner may apply another examination format when re-examining individual students.

Other requirements for final grade

Laboratory work (LAB1; 3 university credits)
Written exam (TEN1; 3 university credits)
Project assignment (PRO1; 3 university credits)

Opportunity to complete the requirements via supplementary examination

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Opportunity to raise an approved grade via renewed examination

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Ethical approach

  • All members of a group are responsible for the group's work.
  • In any assessment, every student shall honestly disclose any help received and sources used.
  • In an oral assessment, every student shall be able to present and answer questions about the entire assignment and solution.

Further information

Course room in Canvas

Registered students find further information about the implementation of the course in the course room in Canvas. A link to the course room can be found under the tab Studies in the Personal menu at the start of the course.

Offered by

Main field of study

This course does not belong to any Main field of study.

Education cycle

Second cycle

Add-on studies

SD2810 Aeroelasticity.


Ulf Ringertz (