top of page

15 Aeronautic Research Papers & Technical Memos That Assume A Flat and Nonrotating Earth!

Below are 15 research papers and technical memos that describe how aircrafts, helicopters, or unguided missiles lift off, fly above, and land upon the Earth. In each case, the aeronautical engineers assume the Earth to be flat and non rotating. So where is the paper that assumes round and rotating? Good luck ..  

1. NASA's Reference Publication #1207Derivation and Definition of a Linear Aircraft Model (Introduction -- 2nd paragraph, Concluding Remarks - Page 30, Report Document Page - Page 102, Section 16) ... "This report documents the derivation and definition of a linear aircraft model for a rigid aircraft of constant mass flying over a flat, nonrotating Earth."


And below are 14 more Aeronautic Papers and Technical Memorandums that assume the same:


2. American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics; General Equations of Motion for a Damaged Asymmetric Aircraft (Page 2, Section II) ... “In this paper, the rigid body equations of motion over a flat non-rotating earth are developed…”

3. NASA Technical Memorandum 104330; Predicted Performance of a Thrust-Enhanced SR-71 Aircraft with an External Payload (Page 8 - Digital Performance Simulation Description) "The DPS equations of motion use four assumptions ... a nonrotating Earth."

4. NASA Technical Note: A Method for Reducing The Sensitivity of Optimal Nonlinear Systems to Parameter Uncertainty (Page 12 Problem Statement) ... "(2) A flat, nonrotating Earth"

5. NASA Technical Note; Calculation of Wind Compensation for Launching of Unguided Rockets (Page 8 Trajectory Simulation, 2nd Paragraph) ..."this simulation assumes ... the missile position in space is computed relative to a flat nonrotating Earth"

6. NASA Technical Paper 2768; User's Manual for LINEAR, a FORTRAN Program to Derive Linear Aircraft Models (Page 12, Program Overview) ... “Within the program, the nonlinear equations of motion include 12 states representing a rigid aircraft flying in a stationary atmosphere over a flat nonrotating Earth”

7. NASA Technical Paper 2835; User's Manual for LINEAR, a FORTRAN Program to Derive Linear Aircraft Models (Page 1, Summary) AND (Page 126 , Report Documentation Page, Section 16) "The nonlinear equations of motion used are six-degree-of-freedom equations with stationary atmosphere and flat, nonrotating earth assumptions."

8. NASA Technical Memorandum; Determination of Angles of Attack and Sideslip from Radar Data and a Roll Stabilized Platform (Page 2, Section 16.) “The method is limited, however, to application where a flat, nonrotating earth may be assumed.” 

9. NASA Contractor Report 186019; An Aircraft Model for the AIAA Controls Design Challenge (Page 11, Equation of Motion and Atmospheric Model) ... “The nonlinear equations of motion used in this model are general six-degree-of-freedom equations representing the flight dynamics of a rigid aircraft flying in a stationary atmosphere over a flat nonrotating Earth.”

10. NASA Contractor Report 3073; Investigation of Aircraft Landing in Variable Wind Fields (Page 6, Chapter II - Aircraft Landing Model) ... "The Aircraft trajectory model employed in this study was derived based on the following assumptions: a) The Earth is flat and non-rotating. "

11. NASA Technical Memorandum 81238; A Mathematical Model of the CH-53 Helicopter (Page 17, Equations of Motion) .. "The helicopter equations of motion are given in body axes with respect to a flat, nonrotating Earth."

12. Engineering Experiment Station, Georgia Institute of Technology, Prepared for NASA; Atmospheric Oscillations (Page 10) ... "A model frequently used is that of a flat, nonrotating earth." ... (next paragraph) .. "The most one can profitably simplify the problem is to consider an isothermal atmosphere, plane level surface, and a nonrotating Earth."

13. NASA Tecnical Paper 2002-210718; Stability and Control Estimation Flight Test Results for the SR-71 Aircraft With Externally Mounted Experiments (Pages 10-11 Equations of Motion) ... "These equations assume a rigid vehicle and a flat, nonrotating Earth."

14. NASA Technical Memorandum 100996; Flight Testing a VSTOL Aircraft to Identify a Full-Envelope Aerodynamic Model (Pages 4-5, State Estimation) ... “For aircraft problems, the state and measurement models together represent the kinematics of a rigid body for describing motion over a flat, nonrotating Earth…”

15. NASA Ames Research Center; Singular Arc Time-Optimal Climb Trajectory of Aircraft in a Two-Dimensional Wind Field (Page 2, Section II. Singular Arc Optimal Control) ... “In our minimum time-to-climb problem, the aircraft is modeled as a point mass and the flight trajectory is strictly confined in a vertical plane on a non-rotating, flat Earth."

bottom of page