AIAA celebrates our industry’s discoveries and achievements from the small but brilliantly simple innovations that affect everyday life to the major discoveries and missions that fuel our collective human drive to explore and accomplish amazing things.


Aerospace Design and Structures

Technical Awards:

2020 AIAA Multidisciplinary Design Optimization Award
Raymond M. Kolonay
Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL)
For visionary leadership in the MDO community and development of nonlinear unsteady aeroelastic optimization methods and collaborative/distributed architectures enabling large scale multidisciplinary aircraft design.

Aerospace Sciences

Technical Awards:

2020 AIAA Aeroacoustics Award
Robert P. Dougherty
OptiNav, Inc.
For seminal contributions to experimental aeroacoustics through development and use of phased array technology and for development and use of optimal nacelle design analytical tools.

2020 AIAA Aerodynamics Award
Mark D. Maughmer
Pennsylvania State University
For foundational developments in airfoil and wing design, advancement of novel airfoil  configurations, and contributions to rotorcraft aeromechanics.

2020 AIAA Fluid Dynamics Award
Nadine Aubry
Tufts University
For outstanding contributions to the reduced order modeling of turbulent flows and to microfluidics.

2020 AIAA Ground Testing Award
Mark R. Melanson
Lockheed Martin Aeronautics (retired)
For contributions to development/ground testing of F-35, for decades of wind tunnel testing, and for sustained contributions to AIAA in multiple leadership roles.

2020 AIAA James A. Van Allen Space Environments Award
Louis J. Lanzerotti
New Jersey Institute of Technology
For significant contributions to our understanding of the space environment of the Van Allen radiation belts and leadership in establishing societal awareness of space weather.

2020 AIAA Losey Atmospheric Sciences Award
George C. Greene
Federal Aviation Administration, retired
For his outstanding contributions and leadership applied to fundamental understanding of aircraft wake turbulence.

2020 AIAA Plasmadynamics and Lasers Award
Mikhail N. Shneider
Princeton University
For seminal contributions to the theory and modeling of electric discharges and theoretical foundations of diagnostics based on coherent microwave and laser scattering.

2020 AIAA Thermophysics Award
Tom I-P. Shih
Purdue University
For significant contributions in the development and application of computational design tools for the thermal management of gas turbines to improve efficiency and service life.

Best Papers:

2020 Aerodynamic Measurement Technology Best Paper Award
“Extending the Frequency Limits of ‘Postage-Stamp PIV’ to MHz Rates” (AIAA 2020-2018)
Steven J. Beresh, Russell Spillers, Melissa Soehnel, Seth Spitzer, Sandia National Laboratories

2020 AIAA Applied Aerodynamics Best Paper Award
“Examination of Pitch-Plunge Equivalence for Dynamic Stall over Swept Finite Wings” (AIAA 2020-1759)
Daniel J. Garmann, Air Force Research Laboratory and Miguel R. Visbal, Air Force Research Laboratory

2019 AIAA Atmospheric and Space Environments Best Paper Award
“High Ice Water Content in Tropical Cyclones during NASA/FAA Radar Flight Campaigns with Comparison to Numerical Simulations (AIAA 2019-3304) 
Authors: Fred Proctor, NASA Langley Research Center, Steve Harrah, NASA Langley Research Center; George Switzer, NASA Langley Research Center; Justin Strickland, Analytical Mechanics Associates, Inc., Patricia Hunt, Analytical Mechanics Associates, Inc.

2019 AIAA Computational Fluid Dynamics Conference Best Paper Award
“Geometry Modeling for Unstructured Mesh Adaptation” (AIAA 2019-2946)
Michael A. Park, William Kleb, William T. Jones NASA Langley Research Center; Joshua A. Krakos, Todd Michal, The Boeing Company; Adrien Loseille, INRIA; Robert Haimes, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; John F. Dannenhoffer Syracuse University

2019 Fluid Dynamics Best Paper Award
“Oscillating Shock Impinging on a Flat Plate at Mach 6” (AIAA 2019-3077)
Gaetano M. D. Currao, UNSW Canberra, Australia,  Liam P. McQuellin and Andrew J. Neely, UNSW Canberra, Australia, Fabian Zander and David R. Buttsworth, University of Southern Queensland, Australia,  Jack J. McNamara, Ohio State University, Ingo Iahn, University of Queensland, Australia

2019 AIAA Modeling and Simulation Best Paper Award
“Free-Wake Based Nonlinear Aeroelastic Modeling of UAV Scale Cycloidal Rotor” (AIAA-2019-3245)
Authors: Atanu Halder, Texas A&M University, Moble Benedict, Texas A&M

2019 AIAA Multidisciplinary Design Optimization Best Paper Award
“High-Fidelity Multidisciplinary Sensitivity Analysis Framework for Multipoint Rotorcraft Optimization (AIAA 2019-1699)
Authors: Li Wang, NASA Langley Research Center,  Boris Diskin, National Institute of Aerospace;Robert Biedron and Eric Nielsen, NASA Langley Research Center; Valentin Sonneville and Olivier Bauchau, University of Maryland

2019 AIAA Plasmadynamics and Lasers Best Paper Award
“Dual-Pulse Laser Ignition Using Oxygen REMPI Preionization” (AIAA 2019-3117)
Carter Butte, Colorado State University, Ciprian Dumitrache, CentraleSupélec EM2C, Azer P. Yalin, Colorado State University

2019 Thermophysics Best Paper Award
"Modeling Heatshield Erosion due to Dust Particle Impacts for Martian Entries" (AIAA 2020-0254)
Grant Palmer, Eric Ching, Matthias Ihme, Dirk Allofs, Ali Guelhan, AMA, Inc. at NASA Ames Research Center

Best Student Papers:
2019 AIAA David Weaver Thermophysics Best Student Paper
“Investigation of Galileo Probe Entry Heating with Coupled Radiation and Ablation” (AIAA 2019-3360)
Aaron J. Erb, Thomas K. West and Christopher O. Johnston, NASA Langley Research Center

2020 AIAA Plasmadynamics and Lasers Best Student Paper Award
“Complementary Laser Diagnostics of Metastable N2(A3Σu+,v) Molecules in Nonequilibrium Plasmas and in High-Speed Flows” (AIAA 2020-1743)
Elijah Jans, Ilya Gulko, Xin Yang, Terry Miller, Igor V. Adamovich, Ohio State University

Aircraft Technology, Integration, and Operations

Technical Awards:

2020 AIAA Aircraft Design Award
Udo Juerss
MicroDrones GmbH
For being the “father of modern quadcopter” and for working for more than 20 years designing, testing, and improving the premier aircraft of the aircraft design industry.

Best Paper:

2020 AIAA Aircraft Design Best Paper Award
“Development of an Efficient Mach=0.80 Transonic Truss-Braced Wing Aircraft” (AIAA 2020-0011)
Neal Harrison, Michael Beyar, Eric Dickey, and Kirshna Hoffman,  Boeing Research and Technology;  Gregory Gatlin and Sally Viken, NASA Langley Research Center

Business and Management

Technical Award:

2020 AIAA Hap Arnold Award for Excellence in Aeronautical Program Management Award
Jay E. Dryer
U.S. Department of Defense
For outstanding strategic technical leadership of NASA’s Advanced Air Vehicles and Fundamental Aeronautics Programs significantly advancing a wide range of aircraft – vertical flight through hypersonics

Student Paper Competitions

  • AIAA/CEAS Aeroacoustics

  • Applied Aerodynamics

  • Atmospheric and Space Environments

  • Flight Testing

  • Multidisciplinary Design Optimization

  • Plasmadynamics and Lasers

  • Vertical/Short Take-Off and Landing (V/STOL) Aircraft Systems


Northrop Grumman
Lockheed Martin