Institute of Technology,
Ph.D. in Flight Transportation, 1964
College of Aeronautics, Cranfield, England, S.M. in Aerodynamics, 1957
University of Toronto, B.A.Sc. in Aeronautical Engineering, 1955
Professor Simpson is the Chairman of Flight Transportation Associates and
Professor Emeritus in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Department of
Aeronautics and Astronautics. He is the founder and former Director of the MIT Flight
Transportation Laboratory. Dr. Simpson's principal specialization is air traffic control
systems and operations. Other research areas include the application of operations
research techniques to air transportation problems and airport planning.
as a key investigator on FTA's analysis of ATC/airspace issues for a replacement airport
site selection study at Hong Kong. Analyzed air traffic control and airspace issues for
development of Hong Kong's new airport at Chek Lap Kok. This effort included the design of
arrival and departure procedures, layout of the airspace structure, recommendations for
navaids, and plans for controller training and transitioning to the new airport.
|Future Air Traffic Management Systems
Led FTA's research for NASA into advanced air transportation technologies
(AATT) for civil aviation. This study identified promising elements for the modernization
of the global air transportation system. Specifically, FTA developed functional
descriptions of advanced ATM system concepts, assessments of effectiveness of ATC systems
in the future environment, and assistance on cost/benefit studies of satellite-based air
|MIT Cooperative Research Program
Established and directed the Cooperative Research Program at MIT. This
program is supported by a dozen leading aviation companies, including TWA, Boeing,
McDonnell-Douglas, Pratt & Whitney, and Fokker Aircraft. Current research projects
involve developing capacity-yield management systems and computerized scheduling systems
for Delta and Northwest Airlines.
|National Research Plan for Aviation Human Factors
Principal investigator on FTA's study of human factors in air
traffic control for the Federal Aviation Administration. Assembled a team of leading
experts from industry and government to review the status of human factors research,
identify the future requirements, and recommend national priorities for research support.
|Joint University Program in Air Transportation Research
Directed the Joint University Program in Air Transportation
Research at MIT sponsored by the NASA Langley Research Center and the FAA Technical
Center. This program conducts analytical studies and experimental evaluations of civil
aviation navigation systems, including flight testing of GPS and Loran-C. Currently, this
research is focused on the application of Artificial Intelligence technologies to ATC
operations and management.
|U.S. Department of Transportation
Conducted a study of the potential applications of artificial intelligence
(AI) technologies in managing delays throughout the National Airspace System. The existing
Flow Control system, enroute Air Route Traffic Control Center operations, and Terminal
Radar Control procedures were carefully examined to identify activities or processes that
might be candidates for improvement with AI technology. A real-time expert system was
proposed which would improve the short term prediction of airport landing and takeoff
capacity, suggest a schedule for changing runway operating configurations given weather
and traffic predictions, and use timely reports of actual weather to update the prediction
of local weather changes at an airport.
|Other Federal Aviation Administration Research Studies
Initiated a major effort to improve the methodology used to
establish separation criteria in ATC operations. The reduction of vertical separation at
flight levels above FL 290, and the reduction of oceanic separations under Automatic
Dependent Surveillance (ADS) were studied. Reviewed the certification process used by the
FAA to qualify airline operators for extended range operations over water using twin
engine jet transports. Developed improved collision risk models for a wide range of
traffic environments. At the request of the Program Manager performed a review of the
Joint-NASA/FAA Wake Vortex Research Plan, 1994 to make recommendation on possible
revisions. This entailed compiling a bibliography of all Wake Vortex research around the
world in the last 25 years.
|Air Transport Association
Principal Investigator for an independent critical review of the FAA's
1996 revision of Wake Vortex Safety Criteria. The reclassification of weight categories
which govern the IFR wake turbulence separations between aircraft resulted in a loss of
runway capacity and severe delays during poor weather at major US airports. FTA prepared a
report which made specific recommendations to improve the safety and efficiency of future
operations of the ATC system in handling wake turbulence.
research and consulting assignments for numerous airlines and airline industry
associations, among them Olympic Airways, Pan American Airways, United Airlines, Northeast
Airlines, New York Airways, Flying Tiger, the Air Line Pilots Association and the Air
Transport Association of America. These assignments have covered topics including
economics, market research, traffic forecasting, fleet acquisition, airline management,
computer flight planning, airline computer scheduling, third-level airline operations, and
applications of future aviation technology to air transportation. Of recent particular
note, performed revenue management studies for Delta Airlines. Also engaged in work
concerning the development of an airline schedule planning tool for Northwest Airlines.
|Schiphol Airport Amsterdam
Principal investigator for the FTA study which evaluated the safety of
current and future operations at Schiphol Airport in the Netherlands. The study examined
ATC facilities and procedures at Amsterdam and compared them with Paris, Frankfurt and
London. Participated in the study of new Fifth Runway, and in the assessment of
third-party risk from aircraft accidents.
|Airport Planning Studies
Applied computer tools to airport analyses in taxiway simulation studies
for the new Munich Airport, as well as apron simulation studies for Arlanda International
Airport in Stockholm. Conducted a management organization study for the Philadelphia
International Airport; participated in the Royal Inquiry into the need for a second
airport at Toronto; acted as consultant to the Minister of Transport of Greece in
reviewing airport planning for the new Athens Airport; and conducted V/STOL planning for
the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. Other projects include noise monitor system
studies for Logan International Airport and runway noise studies for Vancouver Airport.
|Port Authority of New York & New Jersey
Investigated the New York terminal area air traffic control
system. Designed a preliminary plan for accommodating civil tiltrotor traffic to Manhattan
without interfering with fixed-wing traffic to JFK, LaGuardia or Newark.
Pease International Tradeport
Involved in the preparation of future aviation scenarios and
forecasts for redevelopment of the former AFB. Assisted in analysis of aircraft
operational procedures and formulation of mitigation measures for airport noise impacts.
Logan International Airport
Principal consultant in FTA's study of Boston's regional airport
system. Responsible for the development and evaluation of possible future regional air
transportation network scenarios. Participated in the evaluation of runway capacity and
delays at Logan. Principal investigator for development of the Preferential Runway
Advisory System for the FAA Air Traffic Controllers, which provides continuous
recommendations for runway configurations to accommodate weather, demand, operational
outages and noise-sharing goals.
Simpson is frequently called on to participate on government, industry, and trade
association panels on airport problems. He was a member of an Environmental Protection
Agency task force to study airport noise; moderator of a panel on the technical status of
commercial airports; and a consultant to the President's Aviation Advisory Commission. He
was a member of the Committee of Transportation Research Information Systems of the
Transportation Research Board, National Academy of Science; Advisory Committee on
Aeronautical Operating Problems, National Aeronautics and Space Administration; Technical
Committee on Aircraft Operations, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics);
Technical Committee on Air Transportation Systems; Office of Technology Assessment of the
U.S. Congress; and U.S. Council of International Chamber of Commerce.
He has recently completed a textbook entitled Introduction to Air
Traffic Control Engineering, which will be published in the near future. This book
addresses ATC operations, analytical concepts, capacity and delay, aircraft operations and
performance, communications technology, navigation and guidance technology, surveillance
and tracking technology, automation, and human factors.