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John Langford

CEO, Aurora Flight Sciences

John S. Langford is the Chairman and CEO of Aurora Flight Sciences Corporation, which he founded in 1989.

Langford is a native of Atlanta, Georgia. He received his Bachelors degree in Aeronautics (1979), Masters in Aeronautics & Astronautics (1984), Masters in Defense Policy (1983) and Ph.D. in Aeronautics and Public Policy (1987) from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Prior to Aurora, Langford worked for the Institute for Defense Analyses in Alexandria, Virginia. While at MIT, Langford organized and led a series of human-powered aircraft projects, culminating in the Daedalus Project, which in 1988 shattered the world distance and endurance records for humanpowered flight with a 72 mile flight between the Greek islands of Crete and Santorini. Earlier, Langford worked for the Lockheed Corporation as an engineer on the development of the F-117 stealth fighter, and as an intern at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

In 2014, the National Aeronautics Association (NAA) awarded John the Cliff Henderson Trophy for “significant and lasting contributions to the promotion and advancement of aviation and aerospace in the United States”. He has also received the DeFlorez Prize from MIT (1979), the Kremer Speed Prize from the Royal Aeronautical Society (1984), the Young Engineer of the Year award from the AIAA National Capital Section (1989), the National Tibbets Award for outstanding contributions to the SBIR Program (1996), the Barry M. Goldwater Educator Award from the AIAA (2000), Virginia’s Outstanding Industrialist award from the Commonwealth of Virginia (2004), and the President’s Award for Exceptional Service (2008) and the Howard Galloway Award (2014) from the National Association of Rocketry.

Langford co-founded Athena Technologies in 1998 and served as CEO and Chairman. Athena was sold to Rockwell Collins in 2008.

Langford is a Fellow in the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) and was elected the next President, starting his two-year term as President-Elect in May 2018. He is also a Fellow in the Royal Aeronautical Society (RAeS), and has served on academic advisory boards at MIT, the University of Maryland, and Mississippi State University. He has served on the Board of Directors of the NAA, the Executive Committee of the Aerospace Industries Association (AIA) (2012-2015), and the Institute Development Committee (IDC) of the AIAA. Langford served on the NASA Advisory Council (NAC) (2011-2015) and chaired its Subcommittee on Unmanned Air Systems. He has served on several study committees for the National Research Council. In 2015 he was named by the Governor of Virginia to chair the Virginia Commission on Unmanned Systems.

John is a lifelong aeromodeller, with membership in the National Association of Rocketry (NAR) and the Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA). He has been a competitor or U.S. team manager in eleven space model world championships and serves as the U.S. liaison to the Federation Aeronautique Internationale (FAI).