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May 18

Langford to Receive 2023 AIAA Reed Aeronautics Award, Drela Elected Honorary Fellow

Electra is pleased to announce that the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) has recognized key Electra principals with two of their highest awards:

Langford and Drela have worked together for 45 years, since they first collaborated on the exploration of human-powered flight at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) with the Chrysalis, Monarch, and Daedalus aircraft projects.

Langford currently leads Electra as its founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and was previously founder of Aurora Flight Sciences where he served as CEO from 1989-2019. Drela was a key contributor to many projects at Aurora and, along with John Hansman, originated the concept for the Electra eSTOL aircraft while at MIT. Langford and Drela are both members of the National Academy of Engineering, and both hold doctoral degrees from the MIT Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics.  

The AIAA award cites Langford "For exemplary achievement as an outstanding aeronautical engineer, visionary leadership in the development of autonomous flight, and relentless advocacy of the future aerospace workforce." The Reed Aeronautics Award is named after Dr. Sylvanus A. Reed, aeronautical engineer, designer, and founding member of the Institute of Aeronautical Sciences in 1932.   

Drela is one of three newly elected AIAA Honorary Fellows, the highest distinction conferred by AIAA that recognizes preeminent individuals who have had long and highly contributory careers in aerospace and who embody the highest possible standards in aeronautics and astronautics. In 1933, Orville Wright became the first AIAA Honorary Fellow.

World-renowned as an aerodynamicist and human-powered vehicle expert, Drela is the Terry J. Kohler Professor at the MIT Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics. His primary research interests are in low speed and transonic aerodynamics, physical modeling and design of aircraft and aeromechanical devices, and computational aerodynamic design methodology.  

The awards will be presented at the AIAA's Awards Gala to be held May 18, 2023, at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. The AIAA is the world's largest aerospace technical society.