Course Title: Aerodynamics and Flight Performance

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Aerodynamics and Flight Performance

Credit Points: 12.00


Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


City Campus


115H Aerospace, Mechanical & Manufacturing Engineering


Sem 2 2016


City Campus


172H School of Engineering


Sem 2 2017,
Sem 2 2018,
Sem 2 2019

Course Coordinator: Prof. Pier Marzocca

Course Coordinator Phone: +61 447375937

Course Coordinator Email:

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities


Course Description

In this course, you will develop your understanding of the theories underpinning low speed and high speed aerodynamics, and study advanced topics in aerodynamics.  The course builds on the concepts underlying the generation of lift and drag in aircraft, and the main methods available to determine aerodynamic forces considering different flow conditions (2D and 3D, incompressible and compressible, inviscid or viscous flow). Advanced topics include an overview of theories applied to rotary aerodynamics (lifting disc and blade element theories, hovering/vertical/forward flight mechanics), an introduction to computational (CFD) methods and an overview of state-of-the-art concepts applied to aerodynamic surfaces (e.g., morphing structures, boundary layer control, aeroelasticity problems). The main governing equations for aircraft flight mechanics are presented and used to analyse the flight performance of aircraft in different situations.

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development


This course contributes to the following program learning outcomes of the Master of Engineering:

1. Needs, Context and Systems

  • Describe, investigate and analyse complex engineering systems and associated issues (using systems thinking and modelling techniques)

2. Problem Solving and Design

  • Develop creative and innovative solutions to engineering problems

3. Analysis

  • Comprehend and apply advanced theory-based understanding of engineering fundamentals and specialist bodies of knowledge in the selected discipline area to predict the effect of engineering activities
  • Apply underpinning natural, physical and engineering sciences, mathematics, statistics, computer and information sciences.

4. Professional Practice

  • Communicate in a variety of different ways to collaborate with other people, including accurate listening, reading and comprehension, based on dialogue when appropriate, taking into account the knowledge, expectations, requirements, interests, terminology and language of the intended audience

5. Research

  • Assess, acquire and apply the competencies and resources appropriate to engineering activities

Course Learning Outcomes (CLOs)


Upon successful completion of this course you should be able to:

  1. Derive and apply the aircraft flight mechanics equations to analyse the flight performance of aircraft in different situations
  2. Determine aerodynamic characteristics (e.g., pressure distribution, lift and drag) of aircraft components and systems in the context of different low speed flow conditions (2D/3D, inviscid/viscous)
  3. Characterise the main aerodynamic properties of high speed flows (transonic, supersonic and hypersonic)
  4. Utilise computational methods to perform complex analyses and flow visualisation requiring increased understanding of fluid dynamics
  5. Explain the principles of aeroelasticity and relate the importance of fluid-structure interaction in aircraft performance
  6. Analyse and assess the aerodynamic performance and characteristics of rotorcraft systems

Overview of Learning Activities

Learning activities can include lectures and class discussions, tutorials, quizzes/exams and individual projects

Overview of Learning Resources

Course-related resources will be provided on the course Blackboard, which is accessed through myRMIT. This can include lecture material, tutorials and references.

Overview of Assessment

X This course has no hurdle requirements.

☐ All hurdle requirements for this course are indicated clearly in the assessment regime that follows, against the relevant assessment task(s) and all have been approved by the College Deputy Pro Vice-Chancellor (Learning & Teaching).


Assessment Tasks

Individual Assignment 1 (including report and presentation)
Weighting 20% (Report: 10%; Presentation: 10%)
This assessment supports CLOs 1-3

Mid-semester classroom test
Weighting 30%
This assessment supports CLOs 1-3


Assignment 2 (group, including report and presentation)
Weighting 20% (Report: 10%; Presentation: 10%)
This assessment supports CLOs 1, 2, 4, 5

Final Exam
Weighting 30%
This assessment supports CLOs 1-6