May 29, 2024

Buddy Sessoms Named Chief Engineer for Electra’s eSTOL Production Aircraft

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Electra has appointed aviation industry veteran Buddy Sessoms as Product Chief Engineer to lead the development of Electra’s nine-passenger electric short takeoff and landing (eSTOL) production aircraft. In this role, Sessoms will ensure a customer-focused approach to Electra’s eSTOL aircraft, designed to meet the growing demand for cost-effective, sustainable urban and regional air travel.

Sessoms joins Electra with over three decades of experience in product development for Piper Aircraft, Eclipse Aerospace, Sensenich Propellers, and Pratt & Whitney. As Chief Product Officer and Chief Engineer at Piper Aircraft, Sessoms led the conceptual design, flight sciences, and test operations for the Piper M600 and M700. He also helped validate the products designed under his leadership as both test pilot and flight test engineer, including flight testing the Eclipse EA500, PiperJet, and M600 aircraft.

“Buddy brings a great depth of experience in leading aircraft development initiatives, guiding them from concept to certification and sustainment. He has a track record of creating products that are not only innovative but also inherently manufacturable and commercially viable,” said JP Stewart, Vice President and General Manager of Electra. “We’re thrilled to have Buddy join the Electra team. His expertise will be instrumental as we ramp up the development of our production aircraft, leveraging the insight gained from the ongoing flight test program of our eSTOL two-seat technology demonstrator aircraft.”

Sessoms earned a Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology and a Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Central Florida. He is a member of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, and of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots. He is also a former Federal Aviation Administration Designated Engineering Representative and Organization Designation Authorization Unit Member.

Electra is developing a low-emissions, quiet eSTOL aircraft that delivers the performance of a helicopter with the safety and economics of conventional fixed-wing aircraft. The production aircraft will carry up to nine passengers or 2,500 pounds of cargo for up to500 miles, offering a sustainable transport alternative to cars and traditional aircraft for short and medium distance routes. Electra holds letters of intent from over 50 customers for more than 2,000 eSTOL aircraft, representing over $8 billion in market demand. Certification and entry into service of the product aircraft is expected in 2028 under FAA Part 23 regulation.