George Mason School of Information Technology and Engineering
Membership Publications Research Contact Us


SYST 460/560 FALL 2017


August, 2018

Introduction to Air Transportation Systems is for those who are starting or plan professions in the air transportation industry. This course provides a survey of the entire field, including aircraft performance, navigation, Air Traffic Control, Traffic Flow Management and safety.

This course prepares students for the Remote Pilot - Small Unammaned Aircraft Systems Airman Certification.

The course prepares students for the FAA Knowledge Exam

Assigments require the application of fundamental principles of physics and fluid mechanics, in analysis and simulation of real-world problems.

This course is available through Web Conferencing

Click here for link to Webconference

Instructor:  Dr. Lance Sherry 
Contact Info:,  703-993-1711
Location: James Buchanan Hall D005

Class Day: Mondays 16:30-19:00
Office Hours:  Wednesdays 16:00-18:00pm or by appointment

TextBook: Pilots Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge (FAA H-8083-25B) Download no-cost .pdf here
TextBook: Remote Pilots Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems Study Guide (FAA G-8082-22) Download no-cost .pdf here
Class Handouts

Week Date Topic Materials
1 08/27 Intro to Drones I (Sensor-Processor-Actuator)
Lecture Notes: Intro to Drones
Homework: Intro to Drones (due 09/10)

Additional Material:
FAA: Remote Pilots Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems Study Guide (FAA G-8082-22)
FAA: sUAS PART 107: The Small UAS Rule
FAA: Advisory Circular 107-2

Lecture Notes: Intro to Arduino Programming (by Shamim Ahmed, SE Student) (due 09/10)
2 09/10 Intro to Drones II (How to Build a Drone) Lecture Notes: Sensor-Control-Servo Systems
Drone Components

3 09/17 Intro to Drones III (Communication Links)
4 09/24 Intro to Drones IV (How to Fly a Drone)
5 10/01 Introduction to Flying

Aircraft Contsruction
Principles of Flight

  • Chap 1 AeroKnow
  • Lecture Notes: History of ATC
    SWYK Quiz Chap 1 Intro to Flying (Class Discussion)
    Homework: Aeronautical Knowledge Test - Chap 1 Intro to Flying (Due 10/08)

  • Chap 3 AeroKnow
  • Chap 4 AeroKnow
  • Lecture Notes #1: Atmosphere
  • Spreadsheet: Standard Atmosphere Model
  • Self-Assessment Worksheet: Atmosphere (Not to be turned in)

  • Homework: Flight Instruments (Due 10/8 via email)
  • Supporting Material
  • Instrumentation (Chap 2, pg 2-11 to 2-12)
  • 6 10/08 Aerodynamics of Flight
    Flight Controls

  • Chap 5 AeroKnow
  • Chap 6 AeroKnow
  • Workbook: Atmosphere, Aerodynamics, Aircraft Dynamics, Aircraft Performance
  • Lecture Notes: Flight Instruments
  • Video: Flight Control Systems
  • Video: Lift
  • Aircraft Components and Functions

  • Homework #1: Lift (due 10/15 at start of class)
  • Homework #2: Lift, Drag, Thurst, Fuel Flow (due 10/15 at start of class)

  • 7 10/15 Aircraft Equations of Motion
    Flight Manuals and Other Documents
  • Video: Forces Acting on the Aircraft
  • Video - Aircraft Equations of Motion (Lewis)
  • Video: Aerodynamic Forces in Flight Manuevers and Stalls

  • Homework: Aircraft Dynamics Simulation. (Due Oct 29)
  • Video: Homework: Aircraft Dynamics Simulation Solutions.pptx Watch in Slideshow Mode

  • Video: Wing-tip Vorticies
  • Video: AAL 587 Wake Vortex Accident

  • SWYKQuiz: Aircraft Dynamics

  • 8 10/22 Modeling Surface Operations
  • Lecture Notes: Aircraft Dynamics - Surface Operations
  • Lecture Notes: Aircraft Velocity and Runway Operations
  • Homework: Modeling Aircraft Dyanmics Surface Operations (due 10/29)
  • BADA User Manual
  • B737 Model

  • Flight Control
  • Chap 8 AeroKnow
  • Lecture Notes: Flight Control - Altitude Hold
  • Spreadsheet: Alt Hold PD Controller
  • Lecture Notes: Introduction to Flight Management Systems
  • 9 10/29 Mid-term Exam
    10 11/05 Weather Theory

  • Chap 12 AeroKnow
  • Lecture Notes: Aviation Weather Summary Chart
  • FAA Handbook - Chap 11 and 12
  • Homework: Aviation Weather Hazards(In-class Assignment)
  • FAA Knowledge Exam Aviation Weather Quiz with Solutions

  • Winds and Currents (Chap 11, pg 11-7 to 11-11)

  • Homework: Aviation Weather (Due 11/19)
  • 11 11/12 Aviation Weather Services

  • Chap 13 AeroKnow
  • Aviation Weather Services Video
  • How to Read a METAR Video
  • METAR Quiz with Answer Video
  • How to Read a TAF Video

  • Lecture Notes: How to Read a METAR
  • Homework: How to Read a METAR (Due 11/19)
  • 12 11/19 Airport Operations


  • Chap 14 AeroKnow
  • Workbook: Intro to Airports
  • Workbook: Airport Diagram - San Diego
  • Solutions: Airport Diagram - San Diego
  • San Diego ILS 9
  • NTSB Video on Runway Incursion Incident at PVD
  • HW Airport Diagrams (due Nov 26)

  • Lecture Notes: ATC Communcations
  • HW ATC Communcations Homework (due Nov 26)

  • Chap 15 AeroKnow
  • Lecture Notes: Air Navigation Service Providers (ANSPs)
  • Workbook: Intro ATC
  • Canadian ATC Exam Study Guide
  • FAA Air Traffic Control Procedures 7110.65
  • Lecture Notes: Nested-loop Model of Air Traffic Control/Management
  • Lecture Notes: ATC Airspace System Structure
    Lecture Notes: ATC Organization
    Lecture Notes: ATC Control Tower Operations
    Lecture Notes: ATC TRACON and Enroute Operations
    Lecture Notes: ATC Non-radar Separation

    14 11/26 Navigation

  • Lecture Notes - Chap 16 Navigation & Flight Planning
  • Homework: Create a Flightplan (due Dec 3)

  • Supporting Material
  • Lecture Notes - Navigation
  • Lecture Notes: Navigation Overview
  • Lecture Notes: Navigation Systems: Enroute
  • Lecture Notes: Navigation Systems: Approach
  • Lecture Notes: Navigation Systems: Runway

  • How to Read Aeronautical Charts
  • Lecture Notes: Aeronautical Charts - Terminal Navigation
  • Solutions: Aeronautical Charts - Terminal Navigation
  • Lecture Notes: Aeronautical Charts - Enroute Navigation
  • Solutions: Aeronautical Charts - Enroute Navigation
  • Aeronautical Charts
  • Solutions: Airport Landing & Navigation Equipment

  • 15 12/03 Putting it All Together

  • Notes: Flight Operations
  • 16 12/10 Final Exam
  • Aircraft Equations of Motion
  • Modeling Suirface Ops
  • Weather Theory
  • Airport Charts
  • Aeronautic Charts

  • * Dates all tentative, subject to change without notice

    Other Sources:
    2.    Terminal Chaos (AIAA, Library of Flight) George Donohue and Russel D. Shaver III. ISBN – 978-1-56347-949-6
    3.    Air Transportation Systems Engineering (Progress in Astronautics and Aeronautics, 193). George L.Donohue and Andres G. Zellweger (Editors), American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, AIAA, 2001.
    4.    Fundamentals of Air Traffic Control – Michael S.Nolan ISBN 0-534-39388-8
    5.    How to Become a Pilot – FAA
    6.    Private Pilot – Jepperson
    7.    Understanding Mathematics for Aircraft Navigation – James S. Wolper
    Practice FAA Knowledge Exam Quizzes:
  • On-line Quiz
  • Exam4Pilots On-line Quiz
  • FAA Question Bank pdf

  • Student Objective:
    Prepare stduents for FAA Knowlwegde Exam. Students will learn the necessary basic knowledge in air traffic management of the air transportation system. This course prepares students for work in the industry and for conduct of graduate studies and research.

    Relationship to Other Courses:

    This is a required course for graduate students in air transportation systems. This course is prerequisite for OR750/SYST660.

    Student Obligations:

        * Complete reading assignments and complete workbooks
        * Homework/quiz turned in at start of class
        * Late penalty 50%
        * Mid-term Exams (Closed book)
        * Final Exam (Closed-book)
        * Field trips
        * Khan Academy Video


        * Homework/Quizzes/Video (20%)
        * Mid-term Exam (40%)
        * Final Exam (40%)

    Grading Scale:

    A    93%    Exceptional in all respects
    A-    90%    Excellent, shows clear understanding of concepts and application of ideas
    B+    88%    Very good, shows basic understanding of concepts and application of ideas
    B    83%    Good, shows acceptable understanding, baseline for undergraduate work
    B-    80%    Adequate, shows acceptable understanding, but with deficiencies
    C+    78%    Weak, but minimally meets requirements
    C    70%    Very weak, but minimally meets requirements
    D    60%    Misses several requirements, but not to the point of being considered failing

    All grades are final

    Academic Honesty:
    Honor Code strictly enforced.
    Suspected violations will be reported