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


SYST 461/660, OR750 SPRING 2020


Jan, 2020

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 323, 

Class Day: Wednesdays 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: Overview of Air Transportation Systems

Feb 3 - Air Transportation Network

Feb 10 - Big Data Analysis of Air Transportation Performance

Feb 17 - Airports and Runway Capacity (Belobaba, Chap 12)
Feb 24 - Deterministic Delays (Belobaba, Chap 12.4)
Mar 03 - Stochastic Delays (Belobaba, Chap 12.4)

Mar 9 - Spring Break

Mar 16 - Mid-term Exam

Mar 23 - Delay Cost Modeling
Mar 23 - Aircraft Performance Modeling

Air Transportation Benefits Analysis

Mar 30- Airline Economics (Belobaba, Chap 3)
Mar 30- Fundamentals of Pricing (Belobaba, Chap 4)

Apr 06- Airline Operational Costs and Productivity (Belobaba, Chap 5) GUEST LECTURE: Dr. ALex Luttmann (Airline Economist - Mitre CAASD)
Apr 13 - Airline Planning (Belobaba, Chap 6)

Apr 20 - Climate Change and Environmental Modeling (Belobaba, Chap 14) GUEST LECTURE: Dr. Terry Thompson (CTO - The Climate Service)

April 27 - Accident Analysis

May 04 - Final Exam 4:30 - 6:30 pm

Additional Topics

Aviation Safety (Belobaba, Chap 11)

Time Series Analysis for Air Transportation System Engineering

Airline Schedule Optimization (Belobaba, Chap 7)

NAS-wide Simulation

Terminal Chaos (Donohue)

Air Traffic Control (Belobaba, Chap 13)

Flight Crew Regulations

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 (1 Undergraduate, 2 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