Flight Simulation and Technology Engineering MPhil/PhD

Major code: EGPR/EGMR

About us

Flight Simulation and Technology Engineering in Liverpool

We are a team of engineers with expertise in the science of flight and its investigation through the use of simulation. This can be conventional manned flight, where our interest is pilot-centric, to unmanned flight where our interest revolves around the problem of performing the stabilisation, guidance and navigation functions for the vehicle with the pilot remote from it.  Our work extends from basic science to applied research. We are solution-focused and are able to deal with problems at both the detailed physics/technology level and the whole aircraft, systems level.

Our work typically revolves around the development or operation of a high fidelity simulation model of an air vehicle system. Our primary modelling and simulation environment is FLIGHTLAB, a multi-body dynamic synthesis and analysis software package especially developed for the creation of complex, time-dependent and nonlinear aerospace vehicle simulations.  This model is the means to rather than the end to the research and is used to achieve the aims of a particular project. Typical recent and current examples of research interests include:

  • Development of objective fidelity metrics and subjective assessment methodologies for flight simulation and virtual reality facilities;
  • Assessment of the required handling qualities for a personal aerial vehicle;
  • Simulating the helicopter-ship dynamic interface and aircraft encounters with turbulent airwakes;
  • Development of criteria for control system development to allow unmanned aerial vehicle ship-board operations;
  • Development of tools and techniques to detect and alleviate rotorcraft-pilot coupling phenomena;
  • Creation of a rotorcraft biodynamic pilot model;
  • Helicopter and tilt-rotor control and handling qualities research and assessment of the vehicle’s handling qualities following system failures;
  • Active control technologies for handling qualities, envelope protection, carefree handling and structural load alleviation of rotary wing and tilt rotor aircraft;
  • Development of novel pilot guidance algorithms for use in a head-up display;
  • Visual perception issues and design of pilot vision aids for fixed wing and rotary wing flight in poor visual conditions;
  • Operational studies involving fixed wing, rotary wing and tilt-rotor aircraft;
  • Aircraft upset recovery;
  • Multi-sensory perception and VR presence studies.

Figure 3

Helicopter Ship Dynamic Interface Research

We also have expertise in robust multivariable control methods such as H-infinity, mu-synthesis/analysis, which, in conjunction with more classical methods of control law design we have been developing and applying in a variety of aerospace - and in particular, rotorcraft - control related projects for over two decades. Notable achievements have included the world's first in-flight tests on two fly-by-wire helicopters - the Canadian National Research Council's variable stability Bell 205 and Bell 412 aircraft - of multivariable control laws designed to improve handling qualities and provide degrees of flight envelope protection. We have also researched multi-objective control for combined stability and control augmentation and structural load alleviation in tilt- and conventional rotorcraft. We have recently delivered advanced training in the design of such systems to engineers from overseas government laboratories and industry who are engaged in the design of their own tilt-rotor UAV and can provide Industry tailored short courses in areas such as Flight Handling Qualities.

figure 4

Flight Tests at the National Research Council of Canada in Support of Simulation Fidelity Research

Our manned aviation work relies heavily on our experimental test facilities. Our flight simulation facilities are unique to academia and provide our research students with the unrivalled opportunity to work with professional test pilots and gain invaluable experience into real-world research techniques.

School of Engineering

figure 1

HELIFLIGHT-R (foreground) and HELIFLIGHT (background) simulators

figure 2

Internal view of HELIFLIGHT-R

School of Engineering

The School of Engineering at the University of Liverpool has a reputation of producing top quality engineering graduates who are highly sought after by the leading employers in the industry.

The School of Engineering 's academic staff are experts in Aerospace, Civil Engineering and Mechanical Engineering.

We run MSc and MRes programmes in areas such as:

  • Manufacturing
  • Lasers
  • Product Design
  • Materials
  • Aerospace Simulation
  • Sustainable Civil Engineering (Maritime and Structural) Mechanical Systems Engineering.

Following a £36 million refurbishment we can offer you state of the art research laboratories. Equipment includes rapid prototyping machines, a range of lasers, two research quality flight simulators and a civil structures laboratory.

The renovation also created a unique active learning laboratory which provides open plan space for student team projects, alongside a workshop equipped with rapid prototyping machines for student use. Research students are based in open plan accommodation close to the academic staff offices

Our approach to postgraduate teaching at Liverpool emphasises two things:

  • providing students with the skills and experience they need to become effective engineers. This includes training in areas such as team working, as well as time with our industrial partners wherever possible.
  • making sure our  programmes align with the research expertise of our staff, whilst also listening to what our students want and need.


Research in the school is organised into three Centres. These are:

  • The Centre for Materials and Structures
  • The Centre for Engineering Dynamics
  • The Centre for Engineering Sustainability

Our MSc programmes are each associated with one Centre to ensure that the teaching is supported and developed within the context of leading edge research.

The School is a centre of excellence for engineering research and has a well deserved reputation for its experimental and computing facilities. You'll use many of these in the course of your postgraduate programme.