Dr. John Langford Awarded the NAA Cliff Henderson Trophy

Washington, DC (May 12, 2014)—The National Aeronautic Association (NAA) is proud to announce that Dr. John Langford, Chairman and CEO of Aurora Flight Sciences, has been selected to receive the 2014 Cliff Henderson Trophy.

The Cliff Henderson Trophy, which is in the collection of the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum, was established in 1960 to honor the creator and Managing Director of the world-renowned National Air Races from 1928-1939. His work stimulated a generation’s interest in aviation and challenged the state of the art in aviation development.

In that spirit, the trophy is awarded to “…a living individual, group of individuals, or an organization whose vision, leadership or skill made a significant and lasting contribution to the promotion and advancement of aviation and aerospace in the United States.” Previous recipients include Colonel Joseph Kittinger, USAF (Ret.), Joe Lombardo, Marion Blakey, The United States Air Force Academy, Anne Morrow Lindbergh, Lieutenant General James H. Doolittle, Senator Barry M. Goldwater, Clarence L. “Kelly” Johnson, and Scott Crossfield.

John Langford is the Chairman and CEO of Aurora Flight Sciences Corporation, which he founded in 1989 and is celebrating its 25th Anniversary this year. He received his Bachelor’s degree in Aeronautics (1979), Masters in Aeronautics and Defense Policy degrees (1985 & 1983) and Ph.D. in Aeronautics and Public Policy (1987) from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

His career has spanned numerous facets of aviation and aerospace to include a series of human-powered aircraft projects that culminated in 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). Earlier, he worked as an engineer on the development of the F- 117 stealth fighter.

Since Langford started the corporation, Aurora has been a leader in the development and manufacturing of advanced unmanned systems and aerospace vehicles and has produced aircraft and air vehicles as a prime contractor. In addition, Aurora supplies major aerospace original equipment manufacturers (OEM) with technologically advanced aerospace components.

Dr. Langford has been awarded 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), and the President’s Award for Exceptional Service from the National Association of Rocketry (2008). In addition, he is a fellow in the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), 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 been a long-time aeromodeller, with membership in the National Association of Rocketry and the Academy of Model Aeronautics.

“John has been a visionary in the research and development of unmanned aerial vehicles,” said Walter Boyne, Chairman of the National Aeronautic Association. “These are the focus of our industry today, and John was working on them a decade ago. He is a great leader in our nation’s aviation and aerospace industry.”

NAA will present the trophy to Dr. Langford on June 11, 2014, at the annual NAA Henderson Trophy Luncheon at the Marriott Crystal Gateway in Arlington, Virginia.

The National Aeronautic Association is a non-profit membership organization devoted to fostering opportunities to participate fully in aviation activities and to promoting public understanding of the importance of aviation and space flight to the United States. NAA is the caretaker of several major aviation awards, and certifies all world and national aviation records set in the
United States. NAA is based in Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport in Arlington, Virginia. For information, visit