While flight management describes the classic task of flight guidance and navigation, mission management goes much further. It involves the organisation, planning and implementation of all actions for the successful execution of a flight mission, tasks that go beyond mere flying and navigation. In the case of civil aircraft, these mission tasks essentially include the transport of persons and goods. In military, governmental or scientific missions, as well as flights to offer e.g. metrology and communication services, the tasks of the crew are much more diverse (e.g. use of sensors, communication means, weapons). These mission management tasks are a great challenge for pilots of manned and unmanned mission aircraft in cockpits and control centres. In dynamic scenarios, achieving the mission goal while taking into account time and space constraints with the available resources is a continuous planning and optimization process. This process requires a particularly high level of human cognitive performance when several (manned and/or unmanned) aircraft have to be taken into account, as is the case with Manned-Unmanned Teaming (MUM-T) missions, for example.

Our goal is to design and develop automated systems that support pilots in mission management. The aim is to transfer challenging planning, decision-making and process coordination tasks to automation. At the same time, the pilot in charge should remain actively involved in the work process at all times.


While classical flight management is predominantly limited to the continuous control of the dynamic process of flying, the automated execution of mission tasks requires cognitive abilities that go beyond the sensorimotor level. These can be machine perception and machine planning skills and many others. In general, machine planning functions for complex, concurrent operations represent the essential core of mission management systems. This ranges from logical action planning to parametric optimization, for example of flight trajectories. In the cockpit, people then work together with a cooperative planning system to solve the mission tasks.


The professorship for Aircraft Dynamics and Flight Guidance develops mission management concepts and integrates them as laboratory prototypes into the flight and ground control station simulators of the institute. The focus is in particular on mission management systems for complex Manned-Unmanned Teaming (MUM-T) scenarios with a large number of aircraft and ground vehicles. In cooperation with other research institutions, mission management systems for civil applications such as high altitude solar platforms or precision farming are designed and implemented.

The main areas of investigation are:

  • How can the strengths of man and machine be combined for optimal cooperation?
  • What behaviour should cooperative planning support have?
  • Which methods and algorithms are suitable for situational awareness and interpretation, logical planning and temporal coordination/optimization?