8–12 January 2018
Gaylord Palms, Kissimmee, Florida

Aircraft and Rotorcraft System Identification: Engineering Methods for Manned and UAV Applications with Hands-on Training using CIFER®

6-7 January 2018

The objectives of this course are to: (1) review the fundamental methods of Manned and UAV aircraft and rotorcraft system identification methods with Hands-on Training using CIFER® and illustrate the benefits of their broad application throughout the flight vehicle development process; (2) provide the attendees with an intensive hands-on training of the CIFER®system identification, using flight test data and 10 extensive Lab exercises. Students will work on comprehensive laboratory assignments using student version of software provided to course participants (requires student to bring a laptop). The many examples from recent manned and UAV aircraft programs illustrate the effectiveness of this technology for rapidly solving difficult integration problems. The course will review key methods and computational tools, but will not be overly mathematical in content. 

Course reference is the AIAA book “Aircraft and Rotorcraft System Identification: Engineering Methods With Flight Test Examples, 2nd Edition” (Included with course registration)

Key Topics

  • Overview of system identification methods and applications
  • Flight testing and instrumentation for handling-qualities and manned/unmanned control system development
  • Simulation model fidelity analysis and design model extraction from prototype flight testing
  • System ID of manned and UAV aircraft dynamics and control from flight test data
  • Model stitching to build accurate full flight envelope nonlinear model from system ID point models
  • Hands-on training in system identification training using CIFER®
  • Over the two-day course students work ten comprehensive labs on model identification and verification using flight test data

Who Should Attend

The course is intended for practicing engineers and graduate students interested in learning the principles and applications of system identification for manned and unmanned aircraft and rotorcraft.  The course assumes some basic knowledge of the concepts of: dynamics, frequency-responses, transfer functions, and state-space representations. The course is not highly mathematical and no experience with other tools is a prerequisite.


Dr. Mark Tischler is a Senior Technologist and Flight Control Technology group leader with the U.S. Army Aviation Development Directorate at Moffett Field, CA. Tischler headed the development of widely-used tools for dynamics and control analysis and has been involved in numerous flight-test projects. He has published widely in this field and was the author of Aircraft and Rotorcraft System Identification: Engineering Methods With Flight Test Examples, 2nd Edition (AIAA 2012), Practical Methods for Aircraft and Rotorcraft Flight Control Design: An Optimization-Based Approach (AIAA 2017), and Advances in Aircraft Flight Control (Ed) (AIAA and Taylor & Francis, 1996).

Course Outline

  • Overview of system identification methods and applications
    • What is system identification and what are the advantages of frequency-domain methods?
    • What are the key payoffs of incorporating system ID in the development cycle?
      • How will it help and what will it do for your program?
    • Frequency-response identification
    • Transfer-function and Multi-input/multi-output (state-space) aircraft dynamic models
  • Key elements of system identification (each topic will have a student lab exercise using CIFER®)
  • Testing techniques
    • Piloted/UAV flight testing for handling-qualities and control system development
    • Do’s and don’ts of piloted frequency-sweep testing
    • Instrumentation requirements and data consistency analysis
  • Frequency-response identification
    • FFTs and Chirp-Z transform
    • Use of Coherence function for data evaluation
    • Application to simulation fidelity evaluation and handling-qualities analysis
  • Effects of flight control feedback on identification
    • Assessing bias errors introduced under closed-loop test conditions
  • Multi-input identification
    • Matrix solution to frequency-response identification
  • Optimal windowing
    • Effect and selection of window size
    • Numerical optimization for combining windows
  • Transfer function modeling
    • Lower-order equivalent system concepts
    • Handling-qualities applications
  • State-space modeling
    • Physical and canonical models
    • Application to a wide variety of aircraft and rotorcraft
    • UAV fixed wing aircraft, quadrotors, and large unmanned helicopter results
  • Time-domain verification
    • Assessing predictive capability of identified models
  • Higher-order modeling for rotorcraft
  • Model Stitching to build an accurate full flight envelope nonlinear model from system ID point models
  • Key concepts and example applications: manned and unmanned aircraft and rotorcraft; quad rotors and small fixed-wing UAVs 
  Tischler book cover

Course Materials

Course notes will be made available about one week prior to the course event. You will receive an email with detailed instructions on how to access your course notes. Since these notes will not be distributed on site, AIAA and your course instructor highly recommend that you bring your computer with the course notes already downloaded. Aircraft and Rotorcraft System Identification: Engineering Methods With Flight Test Examples, 2nd Edition (M.B. Tischler with R.K. Remple) will be provided as part of course registration.

Course Registration

Pricing and registration can be found here.


Please contact Jason Cole if you have any questions about courses and workshops at AIAA forums

Dates to Remember

  • Manuscript Deadline: 05 Dec 2017
  • Early Bird Reg Deadline: 18 Dec 2017
  • Cancellation Deadline: 18 Dec 2017

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