This course covers the process for the design and analysis of flight control systems for both manned and unmanned fixed wing aircraft.

The course presents methods for flight control analysis and design. The methods are largely based on classical design approach that produces controllers that have a simple structure and that are transparent and can subsequently be implemented and certified for real aircraft. 

An introduction to more advanced methods is also provided. The material is supported by test cases. The course will consist of instruction classes and example classes where delegates will get hands-on experience in designing flight control systems.

At a glance

Course structure

5 days, including lectures, computer exercises and an exercise in the flight simulator

What you will learn

On completion of the course delegates will understand the procedure for flight control design and have an appreciation of the issues.

Core content

  • Introduction to automatic flight control design applications
  • Linear aircraft models 
  • Non-linear aircraft simulation models
  • Aircraft dynamic stability and response
  • Flight Control Law Design 
  • Autostabiliser Design Example
  • Introduction to classical autopilot design  
  • Autothrottle Design
  • Pitch Attitude Hold Autopilot Design
  • Altitude Hold & Turn coordination
  • Roll attitude control
  • Heading control
  • Physical considerations
  • Design and implementation
  • Non-linear case study  
  • Flight control best practices
  • Introduction to Advanced Control System Design Methods
  • Advanced and optimal control
  • Robust flight control

Who should attend

The course will be of benefit to aeronautical, control and simulation engineers who face challenges in assessing aircraft stability and in designing stability augmentation, flight control and autopilots for fixed wing aircraft. It is assumed the attendees would have a basic knowledge of flight dynamics and automatic control design methods.


  • Prof. James Whidborne
  • Dr Linghai Lu
  • Dr Mushfiqul Alam
  • Chris Fielding - Chartered Engineer and a Fellow of The Royal Aeronautical Society, with over thirty-six years of aerodynamics and aircraft flight control systems design experience, mainly covering new aircraft projects.


20% discount for Cranfield Alumni. 
10% discount when registering 3 or more delegates, from the same organisation at the same time.  

Accommodation fees are not included in the discount scheme. Please ask about our discount scheme at time of booking.

Accommodation options and prices

This course is non-residential. If you would like to book accommodation on campus, please contact Mitchell Hall or Cranfield Management Development Centre directly. Further information about our on campus accommodation can be found here.  Alternatively you may wish to make your own arrangements at a nearby hotel. 

Location and travel

Cranfield University is situated in Bedfordshire close to the border with Buckinghamshire. The University is located almost midway between the towns of Bedford and Milton Keynes and is conveniently situated between junctions 13 and 14 of the M1.

London Luton, Stansted and Heathrow airports are 30, 90 and 90 minutes respectively by car, offering superb connections to and from just about anywhere in the world. 

For further location and travel details

Location address

Cranfield University
College Road
MK43 0AL

How to apply

To apply for this course please use the online application form.

Read our Professional development (CPD) booking conditions.