David Hershey, Aerospace Engineering BSE Student, and Ella Atkins, Aerospace Professor, test a plane in the Aerospace Wind Tunnels in the Gorguze Family Laboratory on July 2, 2013.Photo: Joseph Xu, Michigan Engineering Communications & MarketingThe field of flight dynamics and control deals with the motion of flight vehicles in the atmosphere and in space, as well as dynamics, control and planning issues related to flight and space applications. The department has a long history of excellence in the areas of flight dynamics and control systems. It was one of the first engineering departments in the nation to offer courses in automatic control, flight dynamics and simulation.

The flight dynamics and control specialization has a strong aerospace emphasis as illustrated by current research on aircraft dynamics, flight planning, flight control and autonomous flight; dynamics and control of attitude systems; astrodynamics; guidance, navigation and associated flight systems; flexible aerospace vehicles; and acoustics and flow control. There is a strong multidisciplinary systems orientation that emphasizes linear and nonlinear systems, optimization, feedback control, optimal planning and decision-making, stochastic processes and estimation and computational and software aspects of flight systems.

This specialization covers theory, experiments and implementation issues, as well as the study of specific cutting edge aerospace vehicles.

NameResearch page
Atkins, Ella Autonomous Aerospace Systems Laboratory (AASL)
Bernstein, Dennis Attitude Dynamics and Control Laboratory (ADCL)
Cutler, James Michigan Exploration Laboratory MXL
Girard, Anouck Aerospace, Robotics, and Controls (ARC) Laboratory
Panagou, Dimitra
Kolmanovsky, Ilya Attitude Dynamics and Control Laboratory (ADCL)

Seaplane UAV and its avionics pod


Flying Fish is an autonomous Unmanned Aerial System that monitors the ocean as a drifting buoy but repositions via flight. Flying Fish is believed to be the first seaplane UAV to have achieved fully-autonomous (self-initiated) flight from takeoff through landing.

TableSat platform


TableSat platform is a one degree-of-freedom tabletop satellite that emulates the dynamics, sensing and actuation capabilities required for spacecraft attitude control.

ARC Laboratory Ground Robots


The Aerospace Robotics and Control (ARC) Laboratory develops and implements cooperative control algorithms on small and micro air vehicles and/or ground robots. ARC operates two Applied Research Associates Nighthawk UAVs.

Iver-2 Autonomous Underwater Vehicle


We cooperate with the Underwater Systems and Technology Laboratory at the University of Porto, Portugal. The Underwater Systems and Technology Laboratory (USTL) from Porto University was founded in 1997 to promote research, development, deployment and operation of advanced systems and technologies in oceanographic and environment field studies. USTL has designed and operates Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROV) for the inspection of underwater structures, low cost Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUV) for coastal oceanography and Unmanned Air Vehicles (UAV).

Dynamics and controls facilities

Prototype plane from Prof. Anouck Girard's Lab

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