Sample Courses

AER302 – Aircraft Flight

The course consists of two sections of approximately equal length which relate to different aspects of flight mechanics. The overall objective is to introduce the students to the physical description of how aircraft fly and the resulting performance of the aircraft. The first section deals with classical aircraft performance and treats steady-state flight scenarios with a primary interest in predicting the flight path of the aircraft’s center of gravity. The second section deals with aircraft stability and control. Taken as a whole, the course teaches students how to predict the dynamic and steady state behavior of rigid fixed-wing aircraft under a range of flight conditions. It constitutes the underlying theory behind the development of aircraft control systems, the prediction of aircraft performance and stability during the design process and the flight mechanics required in order to plan and carry out aircraft flight tests.

AER307 – Aerodynamics

This first course in aerodynamics answers the questions: how are forces on a wing generated by the fluid flowing around it? and how can they be predicted? Starting from the basic governing equations of fluid dynamics, the Navier-Stokes equations, different levels of dynamic approximations are made to reach increasingly simplified equations (Euler and potential flow equations) that can be used to solve for different aerodynamic flows. This forms the basis from which the thin airfoil theory can be derived and applied to increasingly complex situations, from 2D airfoils to 3D wings in incompressible and compressible flows. The fundamentals of boundary layer flows are also presented and used to improve drag predictions.

AER406 – Aircraft Design

This course involves the design, build and flight of a remotely piloted aircraft. The goal of the aircraft is the maximization of a multi-objective cost function that includes take-off distance, flight speed, payload fraction, payload volume and weight. The class is divided into groups of four students who are guided to develop and build an aircraft that optimizes the given cost function. Groups are given a particular configuration (such as conventional, bi-plane, flying wing, etc.) and the cost function includes a term that compensates for the particulars of each configuration. Weekly meetings with the teaching assistants and instructor are used to keep the teams on track and a preliminary design report and presentation and a final design report and presentation provide the teams with an opportunity to defend their design. Using special facilities at UTIAS, and provided motors and R/C equipment, the teams then build their aircraft from a combination of foam, balsa, special plywood and carbon fibre. The course culminates in a fly-off where the aircraft perform a set of flights to evaluate their “as-built” cost function score.

AER407 – Space Systems Design

This course will introduce students to the basics of designing a space system. The main purpose of the course is to provide an introduction to the classic top-down design methodology. It is very hands on, being largely taught by experienced engineers from MDA and Microsat Systems Canada. The class will be divided into teams that will work together to design all aspects of the proposed space system. Ideally, each group will contain six people with each person responsible for one of the following areas: Operations, Systems, Mechanical, Electrical, Control, and Science. Classes will consist of lectures, followed by workshops culminating in the Preliminary Design Review (PDR) and the Final Report. The idea behind the course is to introduce the students to basics of real-world engineering design.

AER506 – Spacecraft Dynamics and Control

Rigid body kinematics and dynamics. Orbital dynamics and control: the two-body problem, orbital perturbations, orbital maneuvers, interplanetary trajectories, the restricted three-body problem. Attitude dynamics and control: torque-free motion, spin stabilization, dual-spin stabilization, disturbance torques, gravity-gradient stabilization, active spacecraft attitude control, bias-momentum stabilization.