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Operations Research Center






Awards and Honors

Daniel Schonfeld


Us Air Force Academy, SB, Operations Research, 5/2013

Degree Expected

SM in Operations Research

Research Interests

My research focuses on pilot decision making in severe weather within the terminal area. I define the terminal area as a circle around the airport with a radius of 200 km. So far, I have been working with a large data set that contains over 200 flights within the terminal area at Chicago O’Hare that flew through severe weather at least once. These cases occurred on one of eight days in the summer of 2008 when there was severe weather in the terminal area for at least an hour at a time. I am trying to pinpoint possible reasons for why these pilots (as well as pilots in general) fly through severe weather instead deviating around the weather, executing a go-around, for flying to their alternate airport. Some indicators I have considered include: the range of the flight, its assigned runway, aircraft type, whether or not the flight was delayed or is behind schedule, congestion within the terminal area, whether or not the pilot is following others who flew through severe weather, time spent in the terminal area, time of day of arrival, etc. I want to enter the minds of pilots and learn not only their thought process during the final descent but also their decision making process in a severe weather scenario.

Awards and Honors

Omega Rho Scholar (National OR Society), Distinguished Graduate at United States Air Force Academy

Extracurricular Activities

Volunteer for local soup kitchens and the Great Boston Food Bank, ORC INFORMS Officer

Research Supervisor(s)

Hamsa Balakrishnan 



(617) 253-6185


(617) 258-9214



Operations Research Center, MIT
77 Mass Ave, Bldg E40-130
Cambridge, MA 02139-4307

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