Degree Type

Honors Capstone Project

Date of Submission

Spring 5-1-2014

Capstone Advisor

Professor John F. Dannenhoffer, III

Honors Reader

Professor Melissa Green

Capstone Major

Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Capstone College

Engineering and Computer Science

Audio/Visual Component


Capstone Prize Winner


Won Capstone Funding


Honors Categories

Sciences and Engineering

Subject Categories

Aerospace Engineering | Navigation, Guidance, Control and Dynamics


Proportionally speaking, it is safer to travel by plane than any other form of transportation. However, in some parts of the world such as Africa, the lack of updated aircraft, instability within the region, and inexperience of flight crews contribute to a higher rate of aircraft incidents and accidents. This capstone combines elements from aerospace engineering, as well as international relations to create a program to mitigate these risks.

This new algorithm, the Bailey Algorithm, is very different from the commonly used Dijkstra Algorithm. Unlike Dijkstra, the Bailey Algorithm not only incorporates the distance traveled between cities, but it also applies costs at airports visited along the way. To effectively generate the best possible path, the Bailey Algorithm combines the Dijkstra Algorithm with an optimization method called Simulated Annealing.

To show the effectiveness and variety of the Bailey Algorithm, several scenarios were created, based on real incidents. These scenarios were then applied in a 600 mi2 area in East Africa. Selecting this region allowed for variation in topography, and therefore more constraints to be used in defining scenarios.

To account for a variation of possible impairments, some scenarios dealt with mechanical malfunctions, such as one where cabin pressurization becomes a problem, restricting the plane from flying above 5,000 feet. Other scenarios depend on the way the plane interacts with the environment. For example, in one scenario, there is a leak of toxic chemicals, which means the plane cannot fly over National Parks or other protected areas.

Although this program was only exercised on a small number of airports in East Africa, the Bailey Algorithm is able to be modified for any region of airports around the globe. Due to scenarios being created that involve mechanical malfunctions, environmental impacts, and passenger health, the Bailey Algorithm has shown that it is applicable in a variety of situations. In addition, it is easily adaptable to more than the seven scenarios considered.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.



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