Copyright © A. Filippone (2003). All Rights Reserved.



This module will introduce the student to aircraft and rotorcraft performances. Performance estimation is needed to design new aircraft, to operate efficiently existing aircraft, to buy a new aircraft, to modify and upgrade existing aicraft, to extend the flight envelope, etc. The complexity of current aicraft is highlighted, and it is shown how more that 60 independent parameters may be required to characterize the vehicle – not including performance charts.

Measurements of performances are essential to this process, therefore some time will be devoted the the basic flight measurements (air speed, Mach number, altitude, etc).

International regulations (ICAO, FAA, CAA, MIL, etc) are part of the engineering and certification process (Certificate of Airworthness). The role of regulations will be highlighted throughout the course.

Course Unit: ME-2002

  • Level: 1
  • Credit rating: 10
  • Pre-requisites: None
  • Teaching Arrangements: 11 hours lectures, 3 hours tutorials
  • Degrees: Aerospace Engineering (BEng, MEng)

Course Objectives

Upon completion of the course, the students will be able to calculate:
  • Take-off and landing runs
  • Range and endurance of conventional aircraft
  • Climb rates and gliding range
  • Fuel flows
  • Turn radius and banking angles during maneuver
Students will also be able to understand and use WAT charts, payload-range charts, flight envelopes, noise regulations.

Course Outline

  • Aircraft Weights, Speeds and Mission Profiles
  • The atmosphere
  • Level Flight, Climbing and Gliding
  • Flight Envelopes
  • Take-off and Landing
  • Fuel Flow, Range and Endurance
  • Turning and Banked Flight
  • Aicraft Noise
  • Performance Measurements
  • Summary of Performance Parameters
  • International Regulations

Course Work

One homework will be assigned 6 weeks into the course. Students are required to solve one performance problem, requiring the numerical solution of the flight equations, and report the solution within the time allotted.

Reference Literature

  • Eshelby, ME. Aircraft Performance – Theory and Practice, Arnold Publ, London, 2000.
  • Ojha K. Flight Performance of Aircraft, AIAA Educational Series, 1995.
  • Additional Literature for the enthusiasts


Handouts will be distributed during the lectures. None of the lecture notes will be made available on the internet. Lecture notes contain sample questions. No tutorial sheets will be available. Students are required to attend the tutorials and work out the problems assigned.


  • 2 hour closed-books exam at end of semester, 80 %
  • Course work, laboratory work and set problems, 20 %


  • Date and place of the exam is set by the undergraduate office sometime in the middle of the semester.
  • Attending lectures is strongly recommended and will be strictly monitored.
  • Class attendance will reflect upon your final grade.

Course Work Policy

  • All laboratory and course work is to be submitted within 2 weeks from the date of the experiment or assignement
  • Course work submitted after deadline will not be marked.
  • Extension of the deadline can be granted, but only on a case-by-case basis
  • Reports cannot be submitted via email or fax

How Much Should you Study ?

For every hour of lecture you are expected to
  • have two hours of study, or
  • one hour of tutorial and one hour of study

NB: You are encouraged to solve standard problems, for example past examination papers, that are available from the undergraduate offices.

Seeking Help

  • The instructor will be available to answer students questions after each lecture or tutorial.
  • The instructor is available for questions in his office on Mondays and Thursdays at 17:00-18:00, or via e-mail at any time.

Rules of Conduct in the Class Room

  • Mobile telephones are to be switched off at all times.
  • Students are expected to be punctual and lectures to start on time.
  • The instructor expects silence from the students. Background noise will not be tolerated.
  • Horseplay and willful misconduct have no place in the class room.
  • No Smoking, No Drinking, No Eating.
  • Learn More on the Students Chart.

Ethical Standards

Ethical standards are needed to avoid cases of plagiarism and cheating. These include (but are not limited to): attempts to submit laboratory reports and course work without attending experiments/lectures; submitting the work done by another person; failure to give credit for ideas; copying from books; photocopying books and publications covered by Copyright. Assisting other persons to cheat is also considered an offense, and may be subject to disciplinary procedures. Acts of plagiarism are reported to the undergraduate office and to the examiners. Please refer to the students handbook for further details.

Dr A. Filippone
Dept. Mechanical Engineering
Thermo and Fluids Division
George Begg Building, Office C-38
Manchester M60 1QD
United Kingdom

Phone (+44) 161- 200 3702 (direct)
Fax (+44) 161- 200 3723

Copyright © A. Filippone (2003). All Rights Reserved.