John Langford

Founder and CEO

John Langford is the CEO of, which he founded in 2020 to develop sustainable aviation solutions for regional mobility. Electra is developing sustainable electric short takeoff and landing (eSTOL) aircraft that will make urban and regional transportation more rapid, safe, and affordable.

In 1989, Langford founded Aurora Flight Sciences Corporation, a pioneer in robotic and autonomous 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. Prior to starting Aurora, Langford worked for Lockheed Corporation, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), and the Institute for Defense Analyses (IDA). He has worked on over 100 aircraft development programs, many of which he organized and led.

Langford was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 2018.  He is both an Honorary Fellow and a Fellow in the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) and served as AIAA President from 2018-2020.  In 2023, the AIAA awarded Langford the Reed Award for Aeronautics, the highest honor they bestow for notable achievements in the field of aeronautics.

A native of Atlanta, Georgia, Langford earned his bachelors, masters, and doctorate degrees from MIT. While at MIT, Langford organized and led the Daedalus Project, which in 1988 shattered the world distance and endurance records for human-powered flight with a 72-mile flight between the Greek islands of Crete and Santorini.

Langford is a lifelong aeromodeller and a passionate STEM education advocate. His family owns Estes Industries, the world’s leading manufacturer of model rockets and model rocket engines.

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