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Project Title: Development of handling quality criteria and assessment techniques for eVTOL aircraft


Location:  UK Other
Closing Date:  Friday 17 February 2023
Reference:  ENG1620

Supervisor: Vilius Portapas

Project description:

Electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft form the backbone of the future mobility system. There are currently 750+ eVTOL designs under development. They will be used for short to medium range air travel, especially within congested urban areas. Hence, they must be simply controlled and safe to fly. As such, their flying characteristics must be investigated and defined before entry into service. Flying and controlling an eVTOL aircraft is challenging as an eVTOL flight includes three flight regimes: vertical flight (take-off and landing), horizontal flight (cruise), and transition between the two. Vertical and horizontal flight regimes have been well defined and understood within aviation domain. The transition regime is rather new for civil aviation (used only in military aircraft designs, e.g. V-22 Osprey, Harrier, F-35B) and challenging to control.

Flying and handling qualities define aircraft’s controllability and potential for mission success, their criteria and assessment techniques need to be developed for eVTOL aircraft to ensure their safe and successful operations. The aims of the doctoral project are to set and analyse handling qualities’ criteria and assessment techniques for eVTOL aircraft, and a postgraduate researcher is expected to: 1) develop flight dynamics model of a generic eVTOL aircraft; 2) implement control laws for vertical, horizontal and transition flight regimes for a generic eVTOL aircraft; and 3) define handling quality criteria, develop assessment techniques, and verify them by piloted simulation trials using the flight simulator.


The ideal candidate must have a good (1st or 2:1 degree) background in engineering, mathematics, and/or physics with an interest in modelling and simulation, flight mechanics and/or flight testing.

The PhD position is available from 1st October 2023. Deadline for applying is 17 February 2023. Informal enquiries can be made via email to Dr Vilius Portapas,

This is a competitive application and, if successful, will provide fees for home and international students, as well as a stipend (approximately £18,110 for home students and £13,503 for international students per annum tax free for 2023/24) awarded to the suitable candidate.

Please apply here

When applying for this studentship, please include the reference number (beginning ENG) within the personal statement section of the application. This will help in ensuring your application is sent directly to the academic advertising the studentship.

The University actively supports equality, diversity and inclusion and encourages applications from all sections of society.

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