About Me


Jasenka Rakas is a research director, a popular faculty lecturer, and an aviation researcher.

Dr. Rakas is the Deputy Director of the UC Berkeley National Center of Excellence for Aviation Operations Research (NEXTOR). As UC Berkeley NEXTOR's key aviation researcher, she pioneered methods and models for analyzing the impact of navigational equipment outages on airspace performance and has also conducted pioneering work in the area of controller-pilot communications. Her contributions to the research area of airport operations and planning are also significant, where she is best known for using high fidelity data to create new arrival headway distributions, inspiring a significant amount of consequent work by other aviation researchers.

She is Director of the Airport Planning and Design Short Course, and a faculty lecturer in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department. Dr. Rakas' teaching interests are in the area of airport systems design where she is well-known for her unique and well-received teaching style.

She is a founding chair of the UC Berkeley Advanced Aviation Educational Program, UC Berkeley Airport Design Studio and the National Airspace System Infrastructure Management Conference.

Dr. Rakas is also Vice-chair of the Committee for Airfield and Airspace Capacity and Delay (AV060) of the Transportation Research Board (TRB), a division of the National Research Council, which is an operating agency of the National Academies. Through the Committee, Rakas advises the federal government on scientific and technical matters related to airfield and airspace capacity and delay issues.

Dr. Rakas is the author or co-author of more than 100 publications that include archival journals, conference papers and technical reports, and has participated in over 200 high-level presentations and worldwide discussions through conferences, symposia, workshops, panels, talks or conference session chairmanships.



Postdoctoral Institute of Transportation Studies, University of California at Berkeley
Ph.D. Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Maryland at College Park
M.S. Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Maryland at College Park
Dipl.Ing. Air Transportation Engineering, University of Belgrade

Non-engineering knowledge/education earned at the following schools (selected):

Cambridge University, England
Berkeley Jazz School, Berkeley
Faculty of Economics, University of Belgrade
Air Traffic Control School, Belgrade
Kornelius Stankovic Music High School, Belgrade

Awards (selected):

  • Commendation for the outstanding work on the successful development of the 2nd National Airspace System (NAS) Infrastructure Management Conference, and for contributions to the field of NAS Infrastructure Systems Management; Federal Aviation Administration ATO Technical Operations, 2006
  • Commendation for the outstanding work on the successful development of the 1st National Airspace System (NAS) Infrastructure Management Conference, and for contributions to the field of NAS Infrastructure Systems Management; Federal Aviation Administration ATO Technical Operations, 2005
  • Harkins Group Fellowship, 2000
  • Special Award for Outstanding Performance, CSSI, Inc., 1994


Professional Memberships and Affiliations:

Board and Other Committee Memberships (selected):


Service to Other Educational or Governmental Agencies:

  • Airport Cooperative Research Program (ACRP), 2005-2008
    Authorized by the Vision 100 Reauthorization Act, sponsored by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and managed by the Transportation Research Board (TRB):
    • identify relevant airport-related research topics and write research proposals
    • review and comment of the proposed ACRP research topics


From Teaching evaluations, 2008:

Classroom presentation:

  • Very interesting, motivating, fun
  • very energetic. unique way of teaching
  • love your enthusiasm..
  • her enthusiasm is great, makes the subject more interesting
  • interactive and engaging presentation style.. clearly passionate about aviation
  • very enthusiastic, uses many teaching aids
  • very good, structured presentations
Interaction with students:
  • always encourages fun & always open to help
  • very accessible
  • Great! OH always!!
  • always available
  • she relates well to students
  • Cool
  • always very approachable
  • really seems to care about making things enjoyable to exciting her students
Assignments and exams:
  • Exams fair and makes you think creatively
  • Very conceptual - good
  • term project was interesting
  • Term project is a very interesting way to learn
  • organized, thorough
  • online slides were helpful for reference
  • textbook is helpful for design; notes in class sufficiently explain concepts covered
Additional comments/Suggestions:
  • I loved the Bohemian touch. The engineering industry needs more artistic infusion like the way you approached teaching and learning
  • great professor!
  • I liked the course, and found it and engaging effort...
  • I have thoroughly enjoyed taking the class!
  • I really enjoyed the class
  • Great course! Fun + worthwhile!
  • Course was challenging, time consuming, stimulating, fruitful, introduces students to industry contact, ....Great and important course!

From Teaching evaluations, 2007:

  • Great Class, very enthusiastic instructor
  • Professor Rakas is very friendly and helpful
  • Great enthusiastic lectures
  • Great powerpoints! Wonderful enthusiasm
  • You are one of the most caring, kind and most importantly concerned professor I have ever had. Genuinely wanting your students to succeed makes for a great learning environment.
  • She uses very creative presentation techniques to complement the powerpoint presentations.
  • She cares for the students and is willing to adjust deadlines and make changes to help out students.
  • The focus is on students showcasing what they know, so assignment and exams are useful and relative.

From Teaching Evaluations, 2006:

  • Extremely effective
  • Extremely friendly and concerned about our good understanding of the lecture
  • She does a pretty good job
  • She is very helpful in office hours, going above and beyond
  • She is extremely helpful and dedicated to her students
  • Conveys information with ease and organization. Is very enthusiastic and approachable!
  • Jasenka for president!
  • Excellent Instructor! Great use of multimedia & visuals!
  • Treats students as important individuals. Fantastic!
  • Excellent Instructor; Highly recommended for this course. Rating: A+
  • She is a good instructor, I can tell that she cares, and that is very important. I really appreciate the work she did to take us on our Field Trip…
  • Interesting projects, the closest it gets for real world simulation.
  • Best course I've ever taken!!!
  • Jasenka is EXTREMELY enthusiastic about material, provides a tremendous amount of resources.The LAX field trip was a major highlight.
  • Great instructor!
  • I really enjoyed the course; definitely one of my favorites here @ Cal.

From Teaching Evaluations 2005:

  • Excellent
  • Excellent professor!!!
  • Very prepared and enthusiastic
  • Very enthusiastic end helpful


Students' Theses (selected):

"There are many people without whom this thesis would not have been possible. First and above all, my advisor, Dr. Jasenka Rakas, for providing me with hours of assistance, guidance, and knowledge, as well as with this opportunity to work on the intriguing and stimulating concept of NextGen datalink. I could not have managed without her as a voice of sanity and reason amid my dramatics. She always was able to convince me that I'd look back on the most frustrating times and laugh, and in the end, that has been true."

    Sarah Yensen, MS Thesis "Impacts of a Mixed Media Air Traffic Control Communication Environment on Aviation Efficiency," 2008

"I would like to express my gratitude to all members of NEXTOR at UCB who helped me throughout this internship, and especially to my advisor Dr. Jasenka Rakas for her encouragement and constant support..."

    Valentine Calloud, MS Thesis: "Airline On-time Performances Using PDARS and Design of Gate Layout Configurations," 2007

"For support and invaluable suggestions, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to Jasenka Rakas..."

    Arnoud Boubert, MS Thesis: "Statistical Analysis of On-Time Performance using PDARS - Case Study: San Francisco International Airport," 2007

"I would like to express my gratitude to my mentor, Dr Jasenka Rakas, who made my work possible with her commitment and knowledge. I deeply appreciated her guidance and encouragement during my internship at UC Berkeley..."

    Benjamin Messika, MS Thesis: "Aggregate and Disaggregate Modeling of Airport Operations with Localizer Outages: Analysis of Runway Configuration Transitions and Traffic Redistributions," 2007

Other Notes by UC Berkeley Students (selected):

"…You were a great source of inspiration, giving me courage, and I owe you everything I have now. Thank you, dear Professor." Maly Bory, 2006

"I want to thank you for all your support and help this semester. I have learned so much from you, and I truly feel privileged to have met and worked with you. In addition, I really appreciate how supportive and understanding you have been throughout my stress and everything!!..." Grace Uang, 2007

"Thank you for your support…Your teaching has definitely helped me in going through the interview process as well as my present work assignment…Thanks again." Renard Gamaliel, 2007

"I cannot express enough gratitude to you for allowing me opportunities that I only have dreamt about. I first met you as my instructor for CE 153, Airport Design. I credit that class as the flashing bulb that has guided me to my current career path. Your unrivaled enthusiasm and desire to help students made that class very special. … The class propelled me into obtaining an internship with HNTB working on aviation planning and engineering projects in Los Angeles. When interviewing for the position, I proudly displayed my group's class project, an LAX Master Plan, and the hiring manager was astounded by the amount of knowledge I learned in the airport design class…. Your enthusiasm about aviation inspired me to join the field and I have loved every moment of it." Justin Bychek, 2008

"We wanted to thank you for allowing us to stay one more semester at UC Berkeley. We had a really good time working with you and it was a really great experience to discover 'the beauty of research' in Berkeley. We hope we managed to climb on the top of the [research] pyramid and that you didn't have a too hard time with the four of us." The French Gang (Arnoud Boubert, Valentine Calloud, Benjamin Messika and Florian Poirier), 2007

"I would like to thank a number of people that have supported me throughout the semester with this project. Thank you, Jasenka Rakas, for taking me under your wing right away and spending so much time explaining to me pretty much the entire ATC system and having me get hands-on-familiar with all the data that you have collected …. This has been a memorable learning experience." Grace Uang, 2006

"I can't even begin to thank you for all the guidance you have provided thus far. Your class has been one of the most interesting and hands on classes I have taken at Cal. Until this semester I always viewed my love for aviation as a hobby. You have now taught me I can take this love and turn it into a career." Jason Long, 2007

"…Thanks again for helping me earlier in the semester with my job hunt. I wanted to let you know that I've accepted a position with ATAC Corporation in Sunnyvale, CA. Wow, I'm in the aviation industry now. I never really expected to be on this path….Thanks again and as always, Go Bears!" Daniel Castaneda, 2008


"I would like to express my sincere appreciation to your excellent contribution to the controller pilot data link communications (CPDLC) benefits analysis in preparation for the FAA's Joint Resources Council..…your innovation and dedication to a quality product in a short time period is exemplary. We are already getting requests for the CPDLC Benefits Report so that others can build from your work…..the quality of your work and level of effort were outstanding."

    John Thornton, Director
    Free Flight, Federal Aviation Administration, Washington, DC

"The high regard placed on Ms. Rakas' expertise is evidenced by her selection with other renowned aviation experts in authoring papers and participating in high level discussions for the Transportation Research Board Millennium paper and technical conferences. Many of her contributions will continue to have lasting impact on the aviation community with a potential for significant transportation progress in the future."

    Norman T. Fujisaki, Deputy Director
    Office of System Architecture and Investment Analysis, Federal Aviation Administration, Washington, DC

"Rakas' work is extremely important in trying to improve the operations and safety of airports and the air traffic control system and to modernize them in a cost effective way. Her work has been recognized by the Federal Aviation Administration, the Boeing Company and others through citations in the professional literature…"

    Richard Golaszewski, Executive Vice President
    Gelman Research Associates (GRA), Jenkintown, PA

"The Federal Aviation Administration operates over 60,000 pieces of equipment, twenty four hours a day - seven days a week. We use [Rakas'] models to estimate capacity and delay in the [National Airspace System] as a function of resources and budget…..These models represent greater accuracy than any other approach to date and may finally solve what has been an intractable problem that has defied solution for several decades, that is, precisely predicting the effect of [National Airspace System] outages on capacity and delay…"

    Dr. Jady Handal, Manager of Special Programs
    NAS Operations, Federal Aviation Administration, Washington, DC

"Ms. Rakas' research in the field of airport/airspace capacity and delay, and her work to enhance the efficiency and performance of the airport and airspace systems in the U.S. has gained her both national and international recognition."

    Dr. Sal A. Mumayiz, Chair, Committee on Airspace/Airfield Capacity and Delay Transportation Research Board of the National Academies, Washington, DC

"I consider the accomplishments of Ms. Rakas to be quite outstanding and of very great value to the United States. Her work in optimizing aircraft flight paths to and from airports is very valuable in reducing delays, fuel consumption and noise effects at congested airports and in making the most efficient use of scarce airport resources…"

    Prof. Paul Schonfeld, University of Maryland at College Park

"Particular gratitude and appreciation goes to Jasenka Rakas, member of the committee and coeditor, for her outstanding work and tireless effort to document this workshop as a TRB E-Circular."

"[Rakas'] work leads to improved understanding of the current critical problems facing the aviation industry in this country. As the National Civil Aviation Review Commission stated in 1997, "[Aviation] Gridlock is near and will be expensive," and "[American] International competitive stature will be hurt." President Clinton recognized these issues when he challenged the FAA on March 10, 2000 to "bring the air traffic control system and the way it's managed into the 21st century." Ms. Rakas' work bears directly on these problems by bringing analysis and understanding to the causes of the problems and thus to their potential solutions."

    Nan Shellabarger, Deputy Director
    Office of Aviation Policy and Plans, Federal Aviation Administration, Washington, DC