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Pradeep Raj

  • Ph.D., Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA, Aerospace Engineering, 1976
  • M.S. (with Distinction), Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, India, Aeronautical Engineering, 1972
  • B.S. (with Distinction), Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, India, Electrical Technology, 1970
  • B.S. (with Honors), Meerut University, India, 1967
Dr. Pradeep Raj
Aerospace & Ocean Engineering (MC0203)
Virginia Tech Swing Space, Room 207
1600 Innovation Drive
Blacksburg, VA 24061

"I cannot teach anybody anything. I can only make them think." - Socrates  (c.470  BCE)

"You cannot teach a man anything. You can only help him find it within himself." - Galileo  (1564 - 1641 CE)

I see myself as a coach and a mentor focused on inspiring students to learn, pursue excellence, and capitalize on their innate strengths.

Four tenets of my teaching philosophy are:

  1. Help students understand the value proposition of learning the subject matter covered in a course
  2. Help students develop skills to devise innovative solutions to complex problems with consideration of global and societal contexts
  3. Make sure that students have a comprehensive understanding of the fundamental principles and that they develop competencies to apply the principles to solve seemingly intractable problems 
  4. Ensure that students learn to exercise highest levels of professional ethics and personal integrity in every aspect of engineering problem solving and interpersonal interactions


The courses I have taught are:

AOE 4065 & 4066: Air Vehicle Design [Instructor, two-course sequence taught in fall & spring semester]

AOE 4114: Applied CFD [Co-instructor, course taught in spring semester]

The courses I have coordinated are:

AOE 3564: Principles of Project Design & Management [Instructors:  Prof. Grossmann (VT), Prof. Moser (MIT), Prof. Carlson (VT)]  

AOE 5944: Seminar  

Simulation Driven Design

Simulation Driven Design is a promising approach to generate quality affordable aircraft configurations—a must for enhancing U.S. competitiveness in an increasingly globalized marketplace.  This approach is aimed at producing virtual prototypes which can faithfully represent the functional and operational characteristics of a real aircraft to be built.  The traditional design practices are inherently inefficient and expensive as they rely on extensive scale model testing to generate data for configuration design, and on developing physical prototypes to verify functional and operational characteristic. SDD derives its efficiencies and cost-effectiveness by combining the ever increasing power of computers with increasing sophistication of modeling and simulation methodologies based on high-fidelity physics-based computational methods. However, several challenges need to be overcome to realize the promise of SDD. For example, our inability to cost-effectively assess the credibility of computational solutions is a serious impediment. Developing physics-based models that are wellsuited for rapid-turnaround conceptual design studies in a multidisciplinary design, analysis and optimization environment is another.  Devising effective strategies to tackle such challenges is the primary focus of this research thrust. My Note that my emphasis has been on aerodynamic simulations using computational fluid dynamics (CFD). Some of the recent paper are listed below:

1.      Arbolino, J.C., Edwards, L.H., von Spakovsky, M.R., Raj, P., “Experimental Evaluation of Innovative  Thermal Energy Storage Options for a Non-Airbreathing Hypersonic Vehicle’s Internal Loads,” AIAA-2024-1897, AIAA SciTech Forum, Orlando, FL, Jan 8-12,, 2024.

2.      Edwards, L.H., Arbolino, J.C., von Spakovsky, M.R., Raj, P., “Evaluation of Various Energy Storage Options for the Internal Thermal Loads of a Non-Airbreathing Hypersonic Vehicle,” AIAA-2024-1896, AIAA SciTech Forum, Orlando, FL, Jan 8-12,, 2024.

3.      Shah, H., and Raj, P., “An Assessment of CFD Effectiveness for Simulating Wing-Propeller Aerodynamic Interactions,” RAeS Applied Aerodynamics Conference, London, UK, September 13-15, 2022.

4.      Polepeddi, V., Raj, P., and Emeneth, M., “Regional Transport Aircraft Design Using Turbo-Electric Distributed Propulsion (TEDiP) System,” ICAS 2022-0609, 33rd Congress of the International Council of the Aeronautical Sciences, Stockholm, Sweden, September 4-9, 2022.

5.      Raj, P., “Applied Computational Aerodynamics: An Unending Quest for Effectiveness,” Lead Paper, RAeS Applied Aerodynamics Conference, Bristol, UK, July 24-26, 2018.

6.      Ganesh, R.V., Raj, P., Choi, S., and Emeneth, M., “Development and application of WASPE for conceptual design of HEDiP aircraft,” Paper P.2, RAeS Applied Aerodynamics Conference, Bristol, UK, July 24-26, 2018.

7.      Park, J., Arora, A., Prasad, R., Choi, S., and Raj, P., “Multi-response Gaussian Process Regression for Multidisciplinary Design Analysis and Optimization,” AIAA-2018-4172, Multidisciplinary Analysis and Optimization Conference, AIAA Aviation Forum, Atlanta, GA, June 25-29, 2018.

8.      Park, J., Jo, Y., Yi, S., Choi, S., and Raj, P., “Variable-Fidelity Design Optimization using Adaptive Sampling and Polynomial Chaos Kriging Model,” AIAA-2017-1754, 58th AIAA/ASCE/AHS/ASC Structures, Structural Dynamics, and Materials Conference, AIAA SciTech Forum, Grapevine, TX, January 9-13, 2017.

9.      Li, Q., Balakrishnan, D., Zhang, X., Burgos, R., Boroyevich, D., and Raj, P., “Conceptual Design and Weight Optimization of Aircraft Power Systems with High-Peak Pulsed Power Loads,” SAE 1016-01-1986, SAE 2016 Aerospace Systems and Technology Conference, Hartford, CT, Sept. 27-29, 2016.

10.   Park, J., Choi, S., and Raj, P., “On More Effective Aerodynamic Data Generation for Simulation Based Aircraft Conceptual Design,” ICAS 2016-0151, 30th Congress of the International Council of the Aeronautical Sciences, Daejeon, Korea, September 25-30, 2016.

11.   Raj, P., and Choi, S., “TiCTaC: An Innovative Paradigm for Aerodynamic Data Generation to Meet Aircraft Conceptual Design Needs,” Paper C.2, RAeS Applied Aerodynamics Conference, Bristol, UK, July 19-21, 2016.

12.   Park, J., Jo, Y., Yi, S., Choi, S., and Raj, P., “Variable-Fidelity Multidisciplinary Design Optimization for Innovative Control Surface of Tailless Aircraft,” AIAA-2016-4038, 34th AIAA Applied Aerodynamics Conference, AIAA Aviation Forum, Washington, D.C., June 13-17, 2016.

13.   Reed, W.C., von Spakovsky, M.R., and Raj, P., “Comparison of Heat Exchanger and Thermal Energy Storage Designs for Aircraft Thermal Management Systems,” AIAA-2016-1023, 54th AIAA Aerospace Sciences Meeting, AIAA SciTech Forum, San Diego, CA, January 4-8, 2016.

14.   Sudalagunta, P., Sultan, C., Kapania, R., Watson, L., and Raj, P., “Aeroelastic Control-oriented Modeling of an Air-breathing Hypersonic Vehicle,” AIAA-2016-1325, 15th Dynamics Specialists Conference, AIAA SciTech Forum, San Diego, CA, January 4-8, 2016.

15.   Friedman, A., Raj, P., and Alyanak, E., “Multidisciplinary Design Space Exploration Using Additive Manufacturing and Rapid Prototype Testing,” AIAA-2015-2942, 16th AIAA/ISSMO Multidisciplinary Analysis and Optimization Conference, AIAA Aviation Forum, Dallas, TX, June 22-26, 2015.

16.   Sudalagunta, P.R., Sultan, C., Kapania, R., Watson, L., and Raj, P., “A Novel Scheme to Accurately Compute Higher Vibration Modes using the Ritz Method and a Two-point BVP Solver,” AIAA Paper 2015-1166, 56th AIAA/ASCE/AHS/ASC Structures, Structural Dynamics, and Materials Conference, AIAA SciTech Forum, Kissimmee, FL, January 5-9, 2015.

17.   Raj, P., and Friedman, A., “On timely and cost-effective prediction of aerodynamic data to meet aircraft design needs,” Paper H.1, RAeS Applied Aerodynamics Conference, Bristol, UK, July 22-24, 2014.

18.   Raj, P., “CFD for Aerodynamic Flight Performance Prediction: From Irrational Exuberance to Sobering Reality (Invited),” 5th Symposium on Integrating CFD and Experiments in Aerodynamics, Tokyo, Japan, October 3-5, 2012.

19.   Raj, P., “Computational Uncertainty: Achilles’ Heel of Simulation Based Aircraft Design (Invited),” NATO/RTO Air Vehicle Technology (AVT) Symposium on Computational Uncertainty in Military Vehicle Design, Athens, Greece, December 3-6, 2007.



  • Chair, AOE Honorifics Committee, 2012–2022
  •  Member, COE Honorifics Committee, 2012–2022
  • Member, VT AOE Undergraduate Curriculum Committee, 2015–present
  • Chair, VT AOE Ad hoc Strategic Planning Committee, 2016–2018
  • Member, External Review Team, Comprehensive Digital Transformation (CDT) program, NASA-Langley Research Center, 2016-2019
  • Member, Advisory Committee for the Engineered Surfaces, Materials, and Coatings (ESMC) for Aircraft Drag Reduction program, Air Force Research Lab (AFRL), 2015–2018
  • Member, AIAA Aircraft Design Technical Committee (ADTC), 2013–present
  • Member, Strategic Advisory Committee, AFRL/ VT/ WSU CCMS (Collaborative Center for Multidisciplinary Sciences), 2008–2011
  • Member, Industrial Advisory Board, Michigan/AFRL/Boeing CCAS (Collaborative Center for Aeronautical Sciences), 2007–2011
  • Member, SAE Teetor Educational Award Committee, 2006–2011
  • Member, Council on Competitiveness National Advisory Committee, High Performance Computing Initiative, 2003–2011
  • Technical Program Co-Chair, 9th AIAA/ISSMO Symposium on Multidisciplinary Analysis and Optimization Conference, Atlanta, GA, 4-6 September, 2002
  • Member, Multidisciplinary Design Optimization (MDO) TC, 1993–1997
  • Member, NRC ASEB Fluids Panel to evaluate AFOSR proposals, 1996–2002
  • Member, Applied Aerodynamics TC, 1989–1992
  • Member, Fluid Dynamics TC, 1985–1988
  • Invited Peer Review Panel Member for (a) Sandia National Lab, Compressible Fluid Mechanics and Aerothermodynamics, 1999; (b) Air Force Research Lab, Computational Sciences Research, 1999; (c) NASA-Langley Research Center, Aerodynamics Research Programs (2015), High-Lift Aerodynamics (1999), Computational Algorithms (1997), and High Alpha Research Program (1991)
  •  Distinguished Faculty Award, Academy of Aerospace and Ocean Engineering Excellence, Virginia Tech, 2022
  • Dean’s Award for Excellence in Teaching, College of Engineering, Virginia Tech, 2016
  • Fellow, Royal Aeronautical Society (RAeS), 2016
  • Fellow, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), 2011
  • Distinguished Engineering Merit Award, Engineers’ Council, 2006
  • Mission Success Award, Lockheed Martin Aeronautical Systems, 1996
  • Outstanding Session Speaker Award, AIAA Atlanta Section Aerospace Technology Symposium, 1992, 1993 and 1997
  • Engineer/ Scientist of the Month Award, Lockheed Aeronautical Systems Company, 1991
  • Fellow, Institute for the Advancement of Engineering, 1991
  • Engineering Merit Award, Engineers’ Council, 1991
  • Associate Fellow, AIAA, 1991
  • SAE Industrial Lecturer, 1990-1991
  • R&D Advancement Award, Lockheed-California Company, 1987
  • Meritorious Technical Contribution Award, AIAA St. Louis Section, 1979
  • Hay Medal, Indian Institute of Science, 1970
  • Chancellor’s Medal, Meerut University, 1967
  • 2017 - present Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech), Collegiate Professor
  • 2012 - 2017 Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech), Professor
  • 2006 - 2011 Lockheed Martin (Skunk Works®), Deputy Director, Technology Development & Integration
  • 2000 - 2006 Lockheed Martin (Skunk Works®), Senior Manager, Vehicle Science & Systems
  • 1999 - 2000 Lockheed Martin Aeronautical Systems, Manager, Aerodynamics
  • 1992 - 1999 Lockheed Martin Aeronautical Systems, Technical Fellow
  • 1989 - 1992 Lockheed Aeronautical Systems Company, Technical Leader, Applied Computational Aerodynamics
  • 1985 - 1989 Lockheed-California Company, R&D Engineer, Aerodynamics
  • 1983 - 1985 Lockheed-California Company, Research Specialist, Aerodynamics
  • 1979 - 1983 Lockheed-California Company, Aerodynamics Engineer–Senior, Aerodynamics
  • 1978 - 1979 University of Missouri–Rolla, Assistant Professor
  • 1976 - 1978 Iowa State University, Research Assistant Professor
  • 1972 - 1976 Georgia Institute of Technology, Graduate Research Assistant