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.

  • Education cycle

    Second cycle
  • Main field of study

  • Grading scale

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

Course offerings

Spring 19 for programme students

Spring 19 Doktorand for single courses students

  • Periods

    Spring 19 P3 (9.0 credits)

  • Application code


  • Start date


  • End date


  • Language of instruction


  • Campus

    KTH Campus

  • Tutoring time


  • Form of study


  • Number of places

    No limitation

  • Course responsible

    Ulf Ringertz <>

  • Teacher

    Ulf Ringertz <>

  • Target group

    For doctoral students at KTH

Spring 20 for programme students

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.

Course main content

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.


SD2601 Fundamentals of Flight or permission from the coordinator.


Etkin, B. and Reid, L. D. Dynamics of Atmospheric Flight: Stability and Control. John Wiley & Sons, 1996.


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

Requirements for final grade

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

Offered by

SCI/Aeronautical and Vehicle Engineering


Ulf Ringertz <>

Add-on studies

SD2810 Aeroelasticity.


Course syllabus valid from: Autumn 2013.
Examination information valid from: Autumn 2007.