My brief is to talk about flight mechanics. But flight mechanics covers all aspects of flight, including aircraft performance, operation and integrity. To limit this talk, flight mechanics is restricted to those aspects of flight dynamics which are concerned with the controllability of aircraft. Even so, it is a wide topic essentially interdisciplinary, embracing inertia, aerodynamics, structural dynamics, engines, hydraulic and electrical systems, instrumentation and avionics. Furthermore, the term ‘aircraft’ needs to be interpreted in the broader sense of referring to aeroplanes, missiles and spacecraft. In the spirit of this meeting, we are looking at contributions from universities in the past and identifying current centres of activity.