Studies of global aircraft dynamics, using nonlinear methods such as bifurcation analysis, reveal the influence of the various steady state attractors on system behaviour. For obvious reasons, the vast majority of stability and control studies concentrate on achieving adequate performance and flying qualities on the ‘trim branch’ of the aircraft: the attractor on which conventional level flight, climbing and turning manoeuvres are centred. Investigations into other branches of attractors are usually limited to spin characteristics and spin recovery. It is conceivable that future aircraft designs, combining agility with low observability, will exhibit less classical dynamic features than are currently typical. Furthermore, the provision of high levels of control power over a wide range of flight conditions (via new control motivator technology) may allow the existence of multiple attractors to be exploited by the pilot and/or control system. This paper reports on a study of how bifurcation analysis can be deployed in this manner. In particular the concept of ‘tailoring’ of bifurcations by the design team, in order to utilize the existence of multiple attractors, is described. Centre manifold/eigenstructure concepts form the basis of the proposed methodology. These are illustrated by application to an aircraft model in which scheduling of a single–axis thrust vectoring control effector is used to create a codimension–2 bifurcation, dramatically modifying dynamics at high angles of attack. Future developments in the technique are discussed briefly, as is the important related issue of computation of basins of attraction for stable attractors.