students using the UWE flight simulator

Professional course

Introduction to Flight Testing of Rotary-Wing Aircraft

About this course

Course code:
Professional/Short Course
Engineering Design and Mathematics
10 Days
Course director:
Dr. Chris Toomer and Dr. Martin Kellett
Key fact:
The course is a mixture of classroom learning, real life helicopter flight testing and the use of a helicopter simulator.

Page last updated 10 January 2017


This course will introduce you to the principles of flight testing of rotary-wing aircraft, concentrating on performance and handling qualities testing, trials planning and report writing. 

The course is designed to be an introduction to pilots and engineers who need to gain an understanding of the fundamental principles of flight testing of rotary-wing aircraft.

By completing the optional course assessment, this course can contribute towards one or more of the Awards within our Engineering Capability Development Framework. This framework of engineering modules gives participants the opportunity to take a flexible route towards a named Postgraduate Award, such as MSc Aerospace, MSc Professional Engineering or MSc Engineering Management.

Careers / Further study

Introduction to Flight Testing of Rotary Wing Aircraft can be taken as a stand-alone short course, or used to build up to a named postgraduate qualification (PG Certificate, PG Diploma or Masters) within our Engineering Capability Development Framework. For a full list of short courses please see our Engineering and Aerospace course list.

Professional accreditation

This course contributes towards the MSc Aerospace Programme, which is accredited by the Royal Aeronautical Society (RAS) and the Institute of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE). Both professional bodies also endorse the other professional engineering courses that we offer.

Our Engineering courses can also contribute to your portfolio of evidence for Chartered Engineering registration. Please refer to the Benefits of Professional Study for more information.

Entry Requirements

There are no formal entry requirements for participants wishing to undertake this course as a standalone short course without the optional module assessment.

Participants wishing to complete the module assessment are expected to have a first degree at 2.2 level or above (or equivalent) or alternatively have industrial experience. We strongly recommend that you speak to the course tutor prior to the course if you are unsure about your suitability to complete the assessment.

Careers / Further study

After successful completion of the course you will have an appreciation of the theory and practice of basic rotary-wing flight test methods, and of flight test philosophy in general. The hands-on flying will allow you to understand the philosophy of practical flight operations and have an understanding of the workload required to perform practical flight tests.



Course Content


  • Mathematics review
  • International Standard Atmosphere
  • Measurement of height and airspeed
  • Introduction to non-dimensional analysis
  • Trials planning
  • Report writing
  • Introduction to civil certification requirements (CS27 and CS29)
  • Introduction to military certification requirements
  • Cockpit assessment

Rotary-wing performance

  • Hover performance
  • Level flight performance
  • H-V testing
  • Climb/descent performance
  • Take-off and landing performance
  • Classical aircraft dynamic modes
  • Handling qualities

Rotary-wing handling qualities

  • Longitudinal static stability
  • Longitudinal dynamic stability
  • Lateral-directional static stability
  • Lateral-directional dynamic stability
  • Flight control mechanical characteristics

Who Should Attend?

Aerospace engineers, pilots and professionals who are involved in commissioning, designing, testing or evaluating rotary-wing aircraft will find this course particularly helpful, especially those who are contemplating posting to a flight test department, or need to work closely with flight test personnel.


An assessed post-course assignment will be set for those students who wish to gain academic credit for the course. The will comprise a number of assessed questions plus an autopilot design case study.


Study facilities

Flight tests and demonstrations will be performed on a Robinson R44 helicopter and a simulator. The R44 flights will be during daytime in week one, and the simulator sessions will be in the evenings in week two.

Some attendance outside normal office hours will be required for the simulator flights. Students will be encouraged to do hands-on flying in order to gain an appreciation of the test methods used and the cockpit workload required.

Classroom lectures will be supplemented with flight test exercises in a Robinson R44 helicopter and a simulator.

Prices and dates

Supplementary fee information

Price TBC

All course prices include course materials, car parking, lunch and refreshments.

Course dates

There are currently no dates available for this course.


Gloucestershire Airfield, Staverton, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire GL51 6SR


How to apply

How to apply

For all enquiries, please complete our on-line enquiry form or contact us on the number below.

For further information

  • Email: For all course queries, please complete the on-line enquiry form above.
  • Telephone:

    +44 (0) 117 32 87265

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