Upset Dynamics of an Airliner Model: A Nonlinear Bifurcation Analysis

Stephen J Gill, Mark H Lowenberg, Simon A Neild, Bernd Krauskopf, Guilhem Puyou, Etienne Coetzee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

44 Citations (Scopus)
545 Downloads (Pure)


Despite the significant improvement in safety linked to the fourth generation of airliners, the risk of encountering upset conditions remains an important consideration. Upset, which may arise from faults, external events, or inappropriate pilot inputs, can induce a loss-of-control incident if the pilot does not respond in the correct manner. Any initiative aimed at preventing such events requires an understanding of the fundamental aircraft behavior. This paper presents the use of bifurcation analysis, complemented by time-history simulations, to understand the flight dynamics of the open-loop NASA generic transport model by identifying the attractors of the dynamical system that govern upset behavior. A number of drivers for potential upset conditions have been identified, including nonoscillatory spirals and oscillatory spins. The analysis shows that these spirals and spins are connected in two-parameter space and that, by an inappropriate pilot reaction to the spiral, it is possible to enter the oscillatory spin.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1832-1842
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Aircraft
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2013


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