Date of Award

Spring 2004

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering


Aerospace Engineering

Committee Director

Brett Newman

Committee Member

Colin Britcher

Committee Member

Roland Bowles


Methodology to predict aircraft transient motion resulting from flight within an unsteady atmospheric environment, coupled with validation using flight test data is proposed. A family of five linear dynamic models is developed for describing the normal acceleration throughout an aircraft cabin due to vertical gust excitation. The five models successively build upon each other by incorporating higher fidelity gust penetration effects while simultaneously maintaining a unified modeling framework. Six wind fields reconstructed from flight test data are used to excite the vehicle models. Simulation responses are compared with forward, center, and aft accelerometer response data recorded during the test. Each model contributes a unique response for the same aircraft type to an atmospheric disturbance. Results obtained depend on the type of wind field input applied to the simulations. All models tend to adequately approximate the non-linear flight data. However, one model consistently outperforms other models even though it does not correspond to the highest fidelity gust penetration model. This one model appears to be an acceptable alternative to the higher fidelity, non-linear full simulation when approximating the acceleration response. Complexity issues with the higher fidelity models are also addressed for their implementation and verification with the variety of wind field inputs.