Document Type

Conference Paper

Journal/Book Title/Conference

47th AIAA Aerospace Sciences Meeting


Orlando, FL


American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics

Publication Date



Dynamic stability requirements for manned aircraft have been in place for many years. However, we cannot expect stability constraints for UAVs to match those for manned aircraft; and dynamic stability requirements specific to UAVs have not been developed. The boundaries of controllability for both remotely-piloted and auto-piloted aircraft must be established before UAV technology can reach its full potential. The development of dynamic stability requirements specific to UAVs could improve flying qualities and facilitate more efficient UAV designs to meet specific mission requirements. As a first step to developing UAV stability requirements in general, test techniques must be established that will allow the stability characteristics of current UAVs to be quantified. This paper consolidates analytical details associated with procedures that could be used to experimentally determine the pitch stability boundaries for good UAV flying qualities. The procedures require determining only the maneuver margin and pitch radius of gyration and are simple enough to be used in an educational setting where resources are limited. The premise is that these procedures could be applied to UAVs now in use, in order to characterize the longitudinal flying qualities of current aircraft. This is but a stepping stone to the evaluation of candidate metrics for establishing flying-quality constraints for unmanned aircraft.