February 8, 2024

Electra Founder John Langford Elected AIAA Honorary Fellow

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Electra is pleased to announce that the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), the world’s largest aerospace professional society, has honored Electra’s founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), John S. Langford, by electing him as an Honorary Fellow – the AIAA’s highest distinction. This recognition acknowledges Langford’s exceptional contributions spanning the creation of three aerospace companies.

The award cites “For the creation of three pioneering and successful aerospace companies and leadership in robotic aircraft, sustainable aviation, STEM education, and national R&D policy.” First bestowed on Orville Wright in 1933, the AIAA Honorary Fellow recognizes preeminent individuals who have had long and highly contributory careers in aerospace and who embody the highest possible standards in aeronautics and astronautics. To date, only 242 people have been recognized with this award.

Langford is an aerospace entrepreneur who currently leads Electra, which he founded in 2020. Electra is developing sustainable electric short takeoff and landing (eSTOL) aircraft that will make urban and regional transportation more rapid, safe, and affordable. The eSTOL aircraft’s unique ability to take off and land in areas as compact as a soccer field, along with its in-flight battery recharging, broadens flight operations to locations previously inaccessible by flight. Langford previously founded Aurora Flight Sciences, a leader in advanced robotic aircraft, and served as CEO from 1989 to 2018. Aurora was acquired by Boeing in 2017. He also co-founded Athena Technologies in 1998 when it was spun out of Aurora. Athena specialized in advanced flight control solutions and was acquired by Rockwell Collins in 2008.

Langford joined the AIAA in 1977 as a student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and served as AIAA President from 2018 to 2020. He was elected as an Associate Fellow in 2002 and a Fellow in 2012, and has previously been honored with the AIAA Young Engineer of the Year Award, the AIAA Goldwater Award, and the AIAA Reed Aeronautics Award. Langford is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and holds a doctoral degree from the MIT Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics.  

The honor will be presented at the AIAA’s Awards Gala to be held on Wednesday, 15 May 2024 at the John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts, in Washington, D.C.