Flying Qualities (FQ) and Handling Qualities (HQ)


Calspan Aerospace has been in the forefront of Flying Qualities (FQ) and Handling Qualities (HQ) research and instruction since modifying an F4FU Corsair into a variable stability aircraft in 1948 as Cornell Aeronautical Laboratory (CAL). Subsequent variable stability aircraft included the NT-33 Shooting Star, Convair 580-based Total In-Flight Simulator (TIFS), and USAF F-16 Variable Stability In-flight Simulator Test Aircraft (VISTA). Today, commercial FQ and HQ instruction is conducted in Calspan’s variable stability Learjets.

Calspan Aerospace supports aerospace industry innovators by teaming with six of the seven SETP-recognized test pilot schools to provide world-class airborne instruction in Flying Qualities and Handling Qualities. We also offer short courses in FQ/HQ taught at our state-of-the-art flight test facility located at the Niagara Falls International Airport.

Training Fq Learjet


Topics covered in our FQ and HQ instruction include:

  • Longitudinal Stability and Control
  • Lateral-Directional Stability and Control
  • Advanced Flight Control Systems and Higher Order Flight Control Systems
  • Sidestick Control and Evaluation
  • Handling Qualities During Tracking (HQDT)
  • Evaluation tools including Cooper-Harper Rating Scale
  • Pilot-Induced Oscillation (PIO)


Calspan customers that engage our expertise in Flying Qualities receive innumerable benefits, including:

  • FQ and HQ training from an expert team who has successfully trained thousands of pilots
  • A combination of classroom and airborne instruction

Robert Harper (CAL) worked with George Cooper of NASA to devise Cooper-Harper rating scale, universally accepted as the method of rating aircraft handling qualities, while working at CAL, the predecessor of Calspan.

Handling Qualities and Pilot Evaluation Paper