Course Title: Flight Test Instrumentation

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Flight Test Instrumentation

Credit Points: 12.00


Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


Bundoora Campus


115H Aerospace, Mechanical & Manufacturing Engineering


Sem 1 2008

Course Coordinator: Associate Professor Lachlan Thompson

Course Coordinator Phone: +61 3 9925 6022

Course Coordinator Email:

Course Coordinator Location: Bundoora East Campus 251:3:24

Course Coordinator Availability: Tuesday afternoon BE, or by appointment

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities

Successful Completion of First year of Program BP069, BP071 or equivalent. Prior knowledge in Solid Mechanics and  Aerodynamics would be advantagous. Course is open accross the University to students from all Schools.

Course Description

This course provides the student with basic skills and competency in Flight test instrumentation which is the name given to the recording and monitoring equipment fitted to experimental aircraft to monitor their behaviour in flight. Flight test instrumentation applys to military and civil applications, and is the  monitoring of various parameters of an aeroplanes performance, handling or instrument calibration. Instruments are used to measure the temperatures of specific components, forces on the structure in flight, the load history of the aeroplane, to the speed of the engines. This is often displayed in the cockpit or cabin to allow the flight test aircrew to monitor the aircraft in flight, and is usually recorded on digital or magnetic media to allow the data to be interpreted later. In modern airplane testing the trend is towards the use of telemetry with the test crew (except test pilot and flight crew) ground based.

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

Students will be introduced and in a "hands on" practically oriented course have real time feedback as they build, fit and calibrate Flight test instrumentation.

Students will at the end of the course be able to describe, recommend viable instrumetation to conduct specific flight tests.

The course will allow the student to become knowledgeable on the application of the following equipment:

Air data booms (straight nose and swivel-head)
Static trailing cones
Sensitive aircraft instruments - airspeed indicators that read in increments of 1 knot or 1 mph, calibrated g-meters
Hand-held stick force gauges
High-end GPS receivers and antennas for precise aircraft positioning - measuring takeoff distances, landing distances, accelerate-stop distances, braking performance, Vmcg runway centerline deviation, airspeed and altitude position errors
Position transducers - sting potentiometers, rotary potentiometers, LVDTs, RVDTs
Pressure transducers
Temperature sensors - thermocouple wire/probes/assemblies, RTD probes, thermistors, glass bulb thermometers
Load cells, force transducers, torque sensors
Portable weather stations - wind speed/direction, outside air temperature, relative humidity
Video recording equipment
Signal conditioners
Data acquisition systems and data loggers

Overview of Learning Activities

Lectures and case studies will be used in sympathy with the University Flight Test Airplane CT4A.

Students will design and build instruments and conduct actual flight tests and data analysis.

This course is hands on with real time feedback and interaction between the student, test pilot and lecturer.

Overview of Learning Resources

RMIT CT4A airplane

RMIT Aviation Facility Essendon Airport

The Learning Hub and associated etexts

Overview of Assessment

Aircraft weight Balance Laboratory on CT4A, Deliverable: Report 30% week 5

Instrumentation Project, Deliverable Report 70% week 10