Asee peer logo

The Instructional Design And Redesign Of An Undergraduate Level, Simulator Based Course On 'flight Test Techniques'

Download Paper |


2007 Annual Conference & Exposition


Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007



Conference Session

Undergraduate Aerospace Design – General Topics

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

12.1442.1 - 12.1442.14



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


M. Christopher Cotting Virginia Tech

visit author page

Chris Cotting is currently a graduate student working on his PhD in Aerospace Engineering at Virginia Tech. Prior to his return to school, he worked for four years at NASA Dryden Flight Research Lab where he was a project chief engineer and flight test lead for several projects. Prior to working for NASA he was employed for four years at Lockheed Martin Aeronautics in Palmdale, California. He has worked on numerous experimental aircraft projects including the X-43A and X-43C, X-35, and X-33. He has an undergraduate and Master’s Degree from Mississippi State University.

visit author page


Leigh McCue Virginia Tech

visit author page

Leigh McCue is an Assistant Professor in Virginia Tech's Aerospace and Ocean Engineering Department and an affiliate to the VT Department of Engineering Education. Dr. McCue received her BSE degree in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering in 2000 from Princeton University. She earned her graduate degrees from the University of Michigan in Aerospace Engineering (MSE 2001) and Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering (MSE 2002, PhD 2004). Dr. McCue is also a private pilot, with experience in high-performance, aerobatic, general aviation aircraft.

visit author page


Wayne Durham Virginia Tech

visit author page

Dr. Wayne Durham served in the US Navy as a fighter and test pilot for a 22 year career including completing a MS at the Naval Post-Graduate School and spending three years as an Operations Officer at the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School. Upon retiring from the US Navy he returned to graduate school to complete a PhD in Aerospace Engineering at Virginia Tech where he then joined the faculty as an Assistant/Associate Professor for 15 years. Presently an Emeritus faculty member, Dr. Durham's military and academic credentials are perfectly suited for educating and mentoring aspiring flight test pilots and engineers as well as educators who wish to teach flight test.

visit author page

Download Paper |

NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

The instructional design and redesign of an undergraduate-level, simulator-based course on “Flight Test Techniques”


A summary is presented of the initial development and curricular impact of the course “Flight Test Techniques” first offered at Virginia Tech in the Spring of 2006. Employing Virginia Tech’s motion based flight simulator, which is a highly modified A-6E Intruder Operational Flight Trainer (OFT), students enjoy a semester-long flight testing experience that gives the realism of flight testing, without the costs, risks, and delays of using actual aircraft. Lessons learned from the first course offering and the redevelopment of the course for a second offering in the Spring of 2007 is presented. The course is taught in a combined classroom/laboratory format. This serves to assimilate material from the entire aerospace curriculum with particular emphasis on real-world application of aerospace dynamics and control principles.


In the Spring of 2006, Virginia Tech’s Department of Aerospace and Ocean Engineering offered for the first time a course titled ‘Flight Test Techniques, AOE 4984’. The course was designed to expose senior level undergraduates to industry and government accepted methods used in aircraft flight testing. Offering this course allowed real world problems to be introduced into the department’s curriculum in a controlled environment. Building on the concept that hands-on application of concepts learned in an academic setting is key to deep understanding, this course serves as a capstone where concepts previously taught in several classes are integrated to give students an overarching view of aircraft operation, putting the theory students are taught in previous courses into practice. In order to facilitate a learning environment and mitigate safety issues associated with using real aircraft, two modern high performance aircraft models in the Virginia Tech Flight Simulation Laboratory are used instead of test aircraft. This allows for accomplishment of targeted learning objectives, while alleviating operational costs, weather concerns, and liability and safety concerns. It also gives students the ability and opportunity to serve in all of the various roles required to flight test an aircraft, from test pilot, to test conductor, to discipline engineer.

The goals of the course are threefold:

• Reinforce concepts taught in aircraft performance and stability and control classes • Expose students to flight testing by reproducing the flight test environment in a classroom setting, • Teach students flight test techniques based on currently used manuals in government evaluation of aircraft to prepare them for careers on flight test teams.

The team teaching and supporting this course has unique credentials to enable this effort

Cotting, M. C., & McCue, L., & Durham, W. (2007, June), The Instructional Design And Redesign Of An Undergraduate Level, Simulator Based Course On 'flight Test Techniques' Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--1509

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2007 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015