Course Description

This course covers an introductory overview of the air transport industry and all those infrastructures that are needed to ensure aircraft fulfill safe and efficient operations. The course is divided in three blocks, namely: Air transportation, Air Navigation, and Airports.

Air transport plays an integral role in our way of life. Commercial airlines allow millions of people every year to attend business conventions or take vacations around the globe. Air transport represents also the fastest way to ship cargo over long distances. Air transport must be seen both as a business and as a technical and operational activity. Therefore, how an aircraft is operated and exploited, and what is the cost of operating and maintaining an aircraft are questions to be assessed. First, we need to understand the complex regulatory framework needed: ICAO and IATA will be studied. Second, within the air transport economy we need to consider aircraft performance and the particular characteristics of air transport. Thus, this block will briefly focus on the types of aircraft and manufactures, on the structure of costs of a typical airline, and on aviation¿s environmental fingerprint.

Air navigation is the process of steering an aircraft in flight from an initial to a final position, following a determined route, and fulfilling certain requirements of safety and efficiency. The navigation is performed by each aircraft independently, using diverse external sources of information and proper on-board equipment. CNS-ATM systems ensure that aircraft can circulate in the air in a safe and efficient manner. Therefore, in this block we analyze air navigation as a whole, including an introduction and historical perspective, the technical and operational framework, the so-called CNS-ATM concept. Finally, we analyze the project SESAR, giving an overview of future trends in the air navigation system.

Airports are a fundamental infrastructure to facilitate intermodal transportation and ensure that flights are performed in a safe way. First, we will focus on defining what airports are, providing a brief overview of their history, introducing their naming nomenclature, describing the variables that potentially affect the demand of air transportation, and thus the necessity of building an airport in a determined location, and finally giving a description of the master plan, the set of official documents for the design and construction of an airport. Then, the focus will be on providing a description of the configuration of a modern airport, including air-side and land-side elements. Finally, we will focus on analyzing airport operations.


Block I: Air Transport

Topic 1: Introduction (Transport as whole, History, etc.)
Topic 2: Regulatory Framework (Air law, ICAO, Chicago Convention, Eurocontrol, IATA, etc.)
Topic 3: Agent Based modeling
3.1 Main Manufactures and aircraft models (Current state and future trends)
3.2 Airlines (deregulation trends, flag companies Vs Low cost, cost structure).
3.3 Other agents (Regulators, passsengers, interaction with airports and the air navigation system, etc.)
Topic 4: Aviation environmental fingerprint.

Block II: Air Navigation

Topic 5: Introduction (Definition, history, wind and meteo, types of flights, dead reckoning triangle, instruments, different speeds and formulas, etc.)
Topic 6: Communications, Navigation, and Surveillance.
6.1 Communication systems (Voice (HF, V/UHF, SATCOM) and Data (ACARS/FANS, VDL, CPDL) Communications Systems
6.2 Navigation systems (Inertial navigation and non autonomous navigation. Types of navaids: VOR, NDB, DME, ILS, GNSS-1 etc.)
6.3 Surveillance systems (RADAR, ADSB, etc.)
Topic 7: Air Traffic Management (ATM)
7.1 Air Space Management (ASM) (Cartography and route selection. Aeronautical Charts, Control volumes, Airspace Classification)
7.2 Air Traffic Flow and Capacity Management (ATFM) (Capacity and demand)
7.3 Air Traffic Control (ATC) (Types of controllers, definition of conflict, functions (e.g., sequencing, merging, metering))
7.4 Others (Aeronautical Information System (AIS))
Topic 8: Future trends: SESAR and NextGen (increasing capacity, efficiciency, and safety, and reducing environmental impact)

Block III: Airports

Topic 9: Introduction (Definition, history)
Topic 10: The master plan
Topic 11: Airport Infraestructure (Air-side and land-side)
Topic 12: Airport operations (capacity and demand, delays, taxing, etc.)

Assesment System

– First Midterm (Air Transport). 15%.
– Second Midterm (Air Navigation). 15%.
– Third Midterm (Airports) – Practical Exercise. 15%.
– Project. 22.5%: 15% for the written project and 7.5% for the presentation.
– Laboratories. 7.5%

– Final exam (25%).
Minimum mark 4.0. Everyone takes the final exam and studies the whole content (midterms are not liberatory). Final average must be over 5.0.

Project: First steps of a research project

The project represents an innovative teaching methodology undertaking the phase of conception of a research project.

  • There will be research groups with 6 people each.
  • We will organize via-a-vis 30 minutes briefings every week. (To be
    agreed with every group).
  • Each group will write a report (using latex) on the first steps of a air
    navigation related research project, including:
    – Introduction with the main ideas and the research question/s. (D1)
    – Review of the literature (state of the art). (D2)
    – Out of the box thinking with a research idea. (D3)
  • Each group will give a presentation on the project.

2014/2015 Class Projects were:

  1. Merging of British Airways & Iberia: Potential Future Strategies
  2. Security Protocols at Spanish Airports
  3. Inefficiencies of the Spanish Air Navigation System
  4. Noise Pollution in Airports
  5. Big aircraft: past, present and future in the scope of air transport
  6. Study of viability of RPAS as a substitute to falconry in the vicinity of Adolfo Suarez Madrid-Barajas Airport
  7. Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Barajas Airport flight delay analysis
  8. Analysis of accidents/incidents in aviation: the ATM perspective
  9. Green Management of Trajectory and Mission

Download Projects –> [201415] M2.251.15347-45-Project–767908