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


SYST 461/660, OR750 SPRING 2014


Jan, 2014

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, runway and airspace capacity and delays, aviation environment, and safety.

Assigments require the application of fundamental principles of system engineering in analysis and simulation of real-world problems.

Instructor:  Dr. Lance Sherry 
Contact Info:,  703-993-1711
Location:  Innovation Hall 215G, 

Class Day: Mondays 4:30-7:10pm
Office Hours:  Wednesdays 1:15-3:00pm or by appointment

* Dates all tentative, subject to change without notice

Dates & Topics

Jan 27 - First day of class: Introduction/Syllabus Review (Belobaba, Chap 1)
Feb 3 - Aircraft Performance & Range
Feb 10 - Air Traffic Control (Belobaba, Chap 13)
Feb 17 - Airline Flight Operations (Belobaba, Chap 8)
Mar 10 - Spring Break


TAKEHOME MIDTERM EXAM - Due Monday April 7 4;30pm)
March 24 - Airports and Airport Capacity (Belobaba, Chap 12)
Mar 24 - Delays (Belobaba, Chap 12.4)
Mar 31 - Air Transportation Data Analysis
April 7 - Air Transportation Benefits Analysis (Dr. Benjamin Levy)

April 14 - Airline Economics (Belobaba, Chap 3)
Apr 21 - Fundamentals of Pricing (Belobaba, Chap 4)

Tuesday - Thursday April 8 - 10 - Integrated Communications Navigation Surveillance Conference Dulles, VA
Apr 28 - Airline Operational Costs and Productivity (Belobaba, Chap 5)
May 5 - Airline Planning (Belobaba, Chap 6)
May 12 - Final Exam 4:30 - 6:30 pm

Additional Topics

Time Series Analysis for Air Transportation System Engineering

Airline Schedule Optimization (Belobaba, Chap 7)
Aviation Safety (Belobaba, Chap 11)
NAS-wide Simulation
Terminal Chaos (Donohue)
Text Book:
1.  The Gloabl Airline Industry – Peter Belobaba  (Wiley, 2009) 978-0470740774

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

Student Objective:
Students will learn the knowledge and skills to become an "Air Transportation System Engineer." This course prepares students for work in the industry and for conduct of graduate studies and research.

Relationship to Other Courses:

The prerequisite for this course SYST 460/SYST560 (or by permission of the instructor)

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 Videos (2 Undergraduate, 4 Graduate Students)


    * Homework/Quizzes (25%)
    * Mid-term Exam 1 (25%)
    *Khan Academy Videos(25%)
    * Final Exam (25%)

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