Date of Award

Spring 2024

Embargo Period


Access Type

Thesis - Open Access

Degree Name

Master of Science in Aerospace Engineering


Aerospace Engineering

Committee Chair

Kyle B. Collins

First Committee Member

Richard P. Anderson

Second Committee Member

Richard J. Prazenica

College Dean

James W. Gregory


To date, there are hundreds of Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) vehicles under development. Most of these vehicles differ significantly from traditional airplanes and rotorcraft when it comes to configuration and handling qualities. Handling qualities for traditional airplanes and rotorcraft are often very predictable. All AAM concepts currently under development feature some sort of fly-by-wire flight control system. Regulatory agencies already have decades of experience with certifying fly-by-wire airplanes. Fly-by-wire rotorcraft have proven to be significantly more difficult to certify and several flight test accidents have occurred as a result of handling qualities deficiencies, or “cliffs”. To ensure the safe and timely certification of AAM vehicles, methods to predict these handling qualities cliffs with reduced risk for test pilots is necessary. This thesis focuses on the development of two such methodologies. The first methodology is fully automated and predicts the forces and moments required for a vehicle to perform a given task, which are then compared with the envelopes of attainable forces and moments as a function of the vehicle’s state. While this methodology can predict when an aircraft would run out of control authority during a task, it’s capability to predict a wider range of handling qualities cliffs due to factors such as dynamic instability and pilot-in-the-loop effects is very limited. The second methodology displays the aircraft’s flight envelope in real time to the pilot as a function of the aircraft’s state and displays the location of the aircraft with respect to the boundaries of the envelope. This could alert pilots to any upcoming handling qualities cliffs and help prevent loss of control accidents during flight testing.

Available for download on Tuesday, December 31, 2024