MITx: 16.110x: Flight Vehicle Aerodynamics

School: MITx
Course Code: 16.110x
Classes Start: 5 Mar 2014
Course Length: 14 weeks
Estimated effort: 12 hours per week. (14 weeks)


Basic mechanics, vector calculus, basic differential equations; good familiarity with basic fluid mechanics concepts (pressure, density, velocity, stress, etc.) similar to the content in 16.101x (...

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MITx: Flight Vehicle Aerodynamics

Flight Vehicle Aerodynamics

Discover the concepts, theories, models, and methods used in the aerodynamic analysis and design of modern aircraft.

About this Course

This course covers the physics, concepts, theories, and models underlying the discipline of aerodynamics. A general theme is the technique of velocity field representation and modeling via source and vorticity fields, and via their sheet, filament, or point-singularity idealizations.

The intent is to instill an intuitive feel for aerodynamic flowfield behavior, and to provide the basis of aerodynamic force analysis, drag decomposition, flow interference estimation, and many other important applications. A few computational methods are covered, primarily to give additional insight into flow behavior, and to identify the primary aerodynamic forces on maneuvering aircraft. A short overview of flight dynamics is also presented.

All required readings are available within the courseware, courtesy of The MIT Press. A print version of the textbook, Flight Vehicle Aerodynamics, is also available for purchase.

Before your course starts, try the new edX Demo where you can explore the fun, interactive learning environment and virtual labs. Learn more.

Ways to take this edX course:

Simply Audit this Course

Audit this course for free and have complete access to all of the course material, tests, and the online discussion forum. You decide what and how much you want to do.


Pursue a Verified Certificate of Achievement

Plan to use your completed coursework for job applications, promotions or school applications? Then you may prefer to work towards a verified Certificate of Achievement to document your accomplishment.

Course Staff

  • Mark Drela

    Mark Drela

    Professor Mark Drela is the Terry J. Kohler Professor of Fluid Dynamics at the MIT Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics, where he joined the faculty in 1986. His primary research interests are in low speed and transonic aerodynamics, design and performance of aircraft and aeromechanical devices, and computational aerodynamic design methodology. He has developed a number of computational aerodynamic design/analysis codes currently being used in the aircraft and gas turbine industry. He has also developed tools for analysis and design of control systems for highly aeroelastic aircraft.

  • Alejandra Uranga

    Alejandra Uranga

    Dr Alejandra Uranga is a Research Engineer in the MIT Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics. She holds a MASc from the University of Victoria, BC, Canada, and a PhD degree from MIT. Her research has been in Computational Fluid Dynamics, specifically the modeling and simulation of turbulence and transition. She is currently the project technology lead for design, development, simulation, and wind tunnel testing of an advanced transport aircraft concept under the NASA N+3 program.


Basic mechanics, vector calculus, basic differential equations; good familiarity with basic fluid mechanics concepts (pressure, density, velocity, stress, etc.) similar to the content in 16.101x (however 16.101x is not a requirement).


Is there a required textbook?

You do not need to buy a textbook. All material is included in the edX course and is viewable online. This includes a full textbook in PDF form. If you would like to buy a print copy of the textbook, a mail-order service will be provided.

Can I still register after the start date?

You can register at any time, but you will not get credit for any assignments that are past due.

How are grades assigned?

Grades are made out of four parts: simple, multiple-choice "Concept Questions " completed during lectures; weekly homework assignments; and two exams, one at the midpoint and one at the end of the course.

How does this course use video? Do I need to watch the lectures live?

Video lectures as well as worked problems will be available and you can watch these at your leisure. Homework assignments and exams, however, will have due dates.

Will the text of the lectures be available?

Yes, transcripts of the course will be made available.

Will the material be made available to anyone registered for this course?

Yes, all the material will be made available to all students.

What are the prerequisites?

The student is expected to be well-versed in basic mechanics, vector calculus, and basic differential equations. Good familiarity with basic fluid mechanics concepts (pressure, density, velocity, stress, etc.) is expected, similar to the content in 16.101x (however, 16.101x is not a requirement). If you do not know these subjects beforehand, following the class material will be extremely difficult. We do not check students for prerequisites, so you are certainly allowed to try.

Who can register for this course?

Unfortunately, students from Iran, Sudan and Cuba will not be able to register for this course at the present time. While edX has received a license from the U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control to offer courses to learners from these embargoed countries, our license does not cover this course. We are deeply sorry the U.S. government has determined that we have to block these students, and we are working diligently to rectify this situation as soon as possible.