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Electra Aero, Inc.
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Electra attracts investment as former industry leaders join board
This investment will help develop the eSTOL aircraft ahead of its first flight, while the former Airbus, Boeing and aircraft finance leaders will bring perspectives on aircraft development, operation, finance and regulation.
Electra's piloted eSTOL aircraft will transport up to nine passengers or 1,800 pounds of cargo for up to 500 miles in all weather conditions.

Manassas, Virginia-based Electra.aero has received investment from Virginia Venture Partners, the equity investment programme of Virginia Innovation Partnership Corporation (VIPC). Electra will use this investment to develop its eSTOL aircraft ahead of its first flight, planned for later this year at Manassas Regional airport. Electra has also received funding from VIPC's Commonwealth Commercialisation Fund.

The majority of travel in the US for distances less than about 800 miles is currently done by driving. A recent NASA-funded study found that passengers would choose to fly distances over 100 miles ahead of other modes of travel given the option to fly to and from convenient local airports. Electra's eSTOL aircraft has the ability to take off and land in spaces no larger than a soccer field and gets people and cargo closer to their destination quickly, quietly and affordably, making it the ideal choice for middle-mile passenger mobility and cargo logistics.

“Electra is on a mission to decarbonise aviation and make regional air travel cleaner and more accessible to everyone,” says founder and CEO John Langford. “We are proud to be founded in Virginia, and we are thankful for VIPC's Virginia Venture Partners investment to help us continue our growth here.”

Electra's piloted eSTOL aircraft will transport up to nine passengers or 1,800 pounds of cargo for up to 500 miles in all weather conditions. The aircraft's ability to take off and land in small spaces, with in-flight battery recharging, enables flight operations from places previously inaccessible by flight including converted parking lots, barges and very short landing strips. Compared to vertical take off alternatives, the aircraft can deliver over twice the payload for 10 times longer distance and at much lower operating costs.

“Electra provides high-speed regional air travel that can cut travel time significantly by avoiding busy travel hubs and bringing passengers and cargo closer to their destination,” says Virginia Venture Partners senior investment director Marco Rubin. “With deep expertise in electric flight and sustainable aircraft design, the Electra team is well on its way to changing the aviation industry, and we are excited to contribute to this growth.”

Electra has also appointed aviation industry leaders James F Albaugh and Allan McArtor to its board of advisors, and Kirsten Bartok Touw to its board of directors. They join existing board members Paul Kaminski, General (Ret) Bryan 'Doug' Brown, Peter Joseph and Laura O'Neill Ott.

“I am thrilled to welcome Jim, Allan and Kirsten to the Electra board at this important time in the development of our eSTOL aircraft. They bring deep understanding of the industry and an invaluable perspective on aircraft development, operation, finance and regulation to the team,” says Langford.

“Electra's choice to develop a hybrid eSTOL aircraft is grounded in real experience with a broad range of technologies. I'm impressed with the team's deliberate and thoughtful approach to the aircraft's development, and I'm delighted to join the company at this exciting time as it prepares to demonstrate its proprietary technology in flight” says Albaugh.

“The fixed wing design of the Electra eSTOL aircraft not only reduces technical risk with better safety and economics compared to vertical take off alternatives, the lower complexity also ensures a straightforward path to certification,” adds McArtor. “I look forward to helping the team navigate the path to commercial operations and success.”

"Electra is transforming the $150 billion advanced air mobility market by delivering the most flexible, efficient and cost-effective solution for urban and regional transport. It's a pivotal time for the aviation industry, and I'm honoured to join the Electra board to help guide the company's growth and financing,” says Bartok Touw.

James Albaugh retired as executive vice president of the Boeing Company and president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes in 2012. He also served as president of Rocketdyne propulsion and power, president of Boeing Space and Communications, and president of Boeing Integrated Defense Systems. He is the current chairman of the National Aeronautics Association, a member of the National Academy of Engineering and past president of the AIAA.

Allan McArtor is the former chairman of Airbus Americas, where he served from 2001-2018. Previously, he was Administrator of the FAA (1987-89), founder and CEO of Legend Airlines and the member of the senior management team at Federal Express that launched its air operations. McArtor served as a decorated fighter pilot in Vietnam and later flew as a USAF Thunderbird pilot.

Kirsten Bartok Touw is the co-founder and managing partner of AirFinance, which specialises in structured finance, leasing and the financing of aircraft, with emphasis on emerging markets. She is also the co-founder and managing partner of New Vista Capital, the investment firm focused on aerospace, space and national security technologies. She previously served as vice president, strategy, structured finance and corporate development at Hawker Beechcraft Corporation and was a co-founder, board member and CFO of XOJET, one of the top business jet airlines in the US. Earlier, she worked in private equity, venture capital, investment banking and capital markets with Alpine Investors, JPMorgan Partners and Goldman, Sachs & Co.

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