Lectures by Dr. Steven Holding

College of Aeronautical Science


Curriculum Overview

The curriculum combines standard year 12 Physics Theory with applications in Aerodynamics, Flight Theory, Aircraft Performance and related topics. The aim is to encourage the student to learn new principles by way of illustrative examples in an area of particular interest.

Lecture Format and Home Study Requirements

Two exams are given, comprising 30% (2 hours duration) and 70% (3 hours duration) of the final mark. Assignments are a compulsory component (no mark allocation). The minimum requirement to achieve a pass level is an overall result of 60%. The student’s exam result, as a percentage will be recorded on the certificate. Exam dates can be adjusted to suit student schedules or work commitments. Students requiring extra study time may elect to delay the scheduled exam date.

Research and Extended Curriculum

Course material naturally evolves with time. As new aircraft types are developed, important aspects of the aircraft’s performance are included in lecture material. Examples of particular aircraft types may be varied to include familiar aircraft or those of particular interest to the student. The Standardized Drag and Power Curves© were developed specifically for this course.

©intellectual property copyright 2002-12

Course Outline

Core Topics:

  • Vectors
  • Newton’s Law of Motion
  • Statics
  • Dynamics
  • Energy and Power
  • Kinetic Theory of Gases
  • Projectile Motion
  • Circular Motion
  • Gravitation and Satellite Motion

Special Topics:

  • Trigonometry
  • Navigation
  • The Physics of Flight
  • Takeoff and Landing Performance
  • The Glider
  • Equilibrium Climb
  • Accelerated Climb
  • Aerodynamics
  • Dynamic Pressure and Wing Loading
  • The Atmosphere
  • Effect of Altitude upon Power and Thrust
  • Mach Number
  • Bank Angle
  • Radius of Turn
  • Load Factor
  • Stall Speed
  • Induced and Parasite Drag Equations
  • Power Curve and Drage Curve
  • Comparison of Piston Turbo-prop and Jet Engine Performance

Note that Aeronautical topics are covered on both a theoretical and practical level. Students will be expected to use the equations as well as understand the fundamental principles from which the equations are derived.

Course Preparation

The minimum commencement level is Year 10 in advanced level Mathematics. Pre-course study is recommended for all students.

Preparation Study: The following text gives a good overview of the basics. “MATHEMATICS FOR AUSTRALIA 10A (advanced)”. The text can be ordered direct from the publisher. Haese Mathematics, PO Box 38, Adelaide Airport, SA, 5950, Phone 08-83559444.To order go to; Please email me to obtain the relevant Chapters and Sections of the text. Topics covered in the text are Metric Units, Trigonometry, Algebra, Formula and Equations. I suggest that you first attempt the revision questions at the end of each chapter. Note that this material will be revised in the first week of the lecture course. Please email Dr Steven Holding if you need any assistance.



The aim is to teach the standard year 12 Physics Curriculum using illustrative examples in Flight Theory, and Aviation related topics. I feel that the students are encouraged by the inclusion of relevant material, individual tuition, and my personal interest in the subject. Student aviators will find the knowledge gained to be beneficial to them both academically as well as in the practical side of being a competent pilot.


The Enrolment form can be downloaded here

Course Venue

Brisbane: Saint Johns College, College Rd, Saint Lucia. (on University of Queensland Campus)

Cost / Schedule

Please contact Dr. Steven Holding for course fees and current lecture schedules.
mobile 042 303 7474


Accommodation (including all meals) is usually available at one of the many University campus colleges. There is also cheaper student accommodation available around the Saint Lucia and Indooroopilly area. Please contact Dr. Steven Holding for all details.

Course Materials

The following items are required: Scientific Calculator (Casio fx82), Technical Drawing Instruments, Protractor, Drawing Compass, 2 mm Graph Paper.