The Dynamics, Simulation and Control (DSC) Group conducts research and consultancy work on the dynamics, stability and control of all types of air vehicle and other engineering systems. The Group performs both theoretical and experimental work with leading industrial partners as well as working with SMEs. World-leading research is conducted in both blue-sky conceptual areas and practical applications. Staff have industrial experience in the aerospace sector, and collaborate with other research groups in Cranfield and internationally.

Facilities and resources

Facilities available to the group for both teaching and research include various wind tunnels, a dynamic test rig, a large fixed-base flight simulator, a professional experimental test pilot, a fully instrumented flying laboratory aircraft and an indoor autonomous flying vehicles laboratory.

    Clients and partners

    The Group works with leading aerospace and engineering companies as well as with a number of small and medium sized enterprises. Recent high-profile clients have included:

    • Airbus,

    • BAE Systems,

    • Cobham plc,

    • Jaguar Land Rover,

    • Qinetiq ,

    • Schlumberger Oilfields.

    Current and recent research activities are also supported by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and the Department for Business Innovation & Skills (BIS). We also work closely with the Empire Test Pilots School (ETPS) in the training and education of flight test pilots and engineers.

    Research projects

    Our research seeks to integrate the essential multi-disciplinary skills which define modern flight dynamics. The diversity of skills includes theoretical and experimental aerodynamics, control system design and analysis, mathematical modelling, computer simulation, control hardware design and analysis, and flight test design and analysis. Application experience includes large transport aircraft including loads, conventional aircraft, helicopters, quadrotors, unmanned aircraft, missiles, hang gliders, airships and air-to-air refuelling.

    We have recently contributed to several national research programmes in unmanned and autonomous air vehicles, in particular:

    • ASTRAEA programme – modelled the air wake to enable real-time simulation of autonomous air-to-air refuelling as well as providing flight dynamics modelling expertise.
    • ASTRAEA II programme – provided simulation capability for autonomous icing protection development and flight test of the capability together with the National Flying Laboratory Centre.
    • FLAVIIR programme - provided the flight dynamics modelling and simulation expertise and a control system for the as well as developing novel flow control mechanisms.

    Particular research areas include:

    • Aircraft performance;
    • Aircraft parameter identification;
    • Collision avoidance;
    • Command and stability augmentation;
    • Control allocation problems;
    • Dynamic wind tunnel modelling;
    • Flight dynamics modelling and analysis;
    • Flight control systems;
    • Flight test;
    • Flying and handling qualities assessment;
    • Flow control devices and feedback flow control;
    • Finite-wordlength problems in control and signal processing;
    • Guidance systems and real-time optimal trajectory generation;
    • 6 DoF modelling for flight loads;
    • LPV control, gain scheduling and adaptive control;
    • Pilot modelling;
    • Propulsion and flight control system integration for blended wing body;
    • Real-time wake-vortex simulation;
    • Robust control design and analysis;
    • UAV control, guidance and decision-making.