Air Transportation Systems Architecting

Three Curtiss F9C-2 'Sparrowhawk' fighters flying in formation.

Curtiss F9C-2 "Sparrowhawk" fighters, flying in a "V" formation, circa 1933-1935. (Image courtesy of the U.S. Naval Historical Center.)


MIT Course Number


As Taught In

Spring 2004



Cite This Course

Course Description

Course Features

Course Highlights

This semester's project was a study of formation flight as a means to increase economy of air transport operations. Students attended lectures on this topic, given by faculty and invited guests.

Course Description

This course addresses the architecting of air transportation systems. The focus is on the conceptual phase of product definition, including technical, economic, market, environmental, regulatory, legal, manufacturing, and societal factors. It centers on a realistic system case study and includes a number of lectures from industry and government. Past examples include: the Very Large Transport Aircraft, a Supersonic Business Jet, and a Next Generation Cargo System. The course identifies the critical system level issues and analyzes them in depth via student team projects and individual assignments. The overall goal of the semester is to produce a business plan and a system specifications document that can be used to assess candidate systems.

Related Content

Earll Murman, John Hansman, and John-Paul Clarke. 16.886 Air Transportation Systems Architecting. Spring 2004. Massachusetts Institute of Technology: MIT OpenCourseWare, License: Creative Commons BY-NC-SA.

For more information about using these materials and the Creative Commons license, see our Terms of Use.