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 Air Transportation Problem

Preliminary Design

Austin High School -- Team 1 Levels of Flight
Kayleigh, Jessica & Maria

Power Point presentation

The main problem is the congestion of traffic in the air. With the congestion come further problems, such as:

  • There are too few large airports
  • Planes are getting too big
  • There is beginning to be a shortage of fuel
  • Weather factors can also be an issue

The Problem.

  • Another problem is the amount of traffic on the roads. Of course with this traffic there are more problems. Such as:
  • Waiting to get into the airport takes longer.
  • Cargo takes longer to reach the plane on time.
  • It is a hazard for the people already near or inside the airport. Because if there was an emergency, say a bomb, no one could get out.

Problem #1:

As previously stated, air traffic is incredibly congested. There are either too many planes in the air at one time or hazardous weather. We also keep making our planes bigger. The bigger the plane the more airspace it takes up. Taking up so much air space causes further congestion.

Not only is it the plane’s fault though. There are too few airports where planes need to stop to refuel. Planes need spots to stop off and to refuel. Also with bigger planes comes the need for more fuel. Thus lowering the amount of fuel we have for the smaller planes. One of these days we’re going to need something fast, like weapons or food, and we won’t be able to get it fast enough because to the amount of fuel we use now.

Problem #2:

Road traffic is another main problem. It increases on the waiting time which leaves people feeling irritable. The more irritable the people are the less willing they are to deal with all the delays for the planes.

All of this traffic causes a problem with the cargo. Because of the traffic around the airport the cargo can not arrive on time. This is a very dangerous since most cargo is food and food does not last forever.

Lastly all of the traffic causes a safety hazard. If the airport were to catch on fire and the firemen couldn’t get close enough to help, or to even get water, then millions of people would die.

What We Need to Know :

What does an air traffic controller do?
They must coordinate the movements of thousands of aircraft, keep them at safe distances from each other, direct them during takeoff and landing from airports, direct them around bad weather and ensure that traffic flows smoothly with minimal delays.

What does the air traffic controller do when there is a storm that might affect aircraft in the area?
The path of your plane may have to be changed from the original flight plan to move around bad weather or avoid a congested sector.

How do commercial airliners know where they can fly?
The air traffic controller tells them where it is safe to fly

How does weather affect an aircraft’s flight?
It delays the flight path.

Can a pilot change routes in flight?
Yes, because they can tell the air traffic controller that they are going to change and they can tell all the other pilots that he is going to change his flight path.

How do safe distances affect how many aircraft can take off or land at one time?
It allows less aircraft to takeoff

How far can a small aircraft fly without having to land and refuel?
World flight

How many passengers can fit in a small plane?

What types of aircraft require short runways? Long runways?
Passenger and larger aircraft require long runways. Small aircraft requires a small runway

What types of aircraft require no runways
Crop planes and Helicopter


Human Factors Researcher:

Airline Flight Planner:


To solve the growing problems related to traffic in the air our team has designed an effective sort of “highway like” way to treat it. First we needed to solve the problems with motorized vehicles at airports. It is becoming an issue that so many cars are in and around the airport and it’s difficult to get in and out, so we came up with a method of strictly using public transportation within a two mile radius of the airport, thus making it easier for people to move in and out of the airport more quickly. There will be a series of trolleys picking up and dropping off, designed specifically for this purpose. They will run trips back and forth. There will be trolleys designed to accommodate all people, including people carrying large items, the handicapped, people with young children, and even people with pets. There will be a number of guarded parking garages where people may leave their vehicles, this being where the trolley will pick them up to take them the rest of the way to the airport.

The next thing we had to do was figure out how to fit all of the planes in the air, since the size of air traffic seems to be multiplying. For this we came up with our “Level of Flight” theory. This theory consists of a series of different components, which will include the following:

  • Levels- We have basically divided the sky up into three major levels. Each individual level is designed for a specific purpose. The upper level is designed strictly for government use, in order to ensure privacy, and since government aircraft are designed to fly at higher altitudes, this seems to be the most logical thing to do. The inner level will
    be conserved mainly for cargo planes, commercial aircraft, and things of that nature. The lower level level is designed mainly for domestic use. This is the level where passenger planes will fly since they go from ground to sky more often than commercial and government aircraft.
  • Regulations- In order to maintain order in this system, a series of “ground rules” will have to be set in place. These rules will have to be carefully thought out by a team of highly experienced engineers, so that chaos doesn’t break out.

“Levels of Flight”

  • Government Level 1
student drawing 3 planes at different levels
  • Cargo Level 2
  • Commercial Level 3


 FirstGov  NASA
Curator: Allison Pasciuto
NASA Official: Mark León
Last Updated: January 2005
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