Electra.aero has announced the promotion of James ‘JP’ Stewart, previously Director of Programs, to Vice President and General Manager, having joined the company in the fall of 2020 shortly after its founding. 

Prior to Electra, Stewart was Senior Technical Program Manager at Aurora Flight Sciences (a Boeing Company) where he led the development of an eVTOL aircraft for Porsche, and was previously the propulsion test and solar array lead for Aurora’s Odysseus solar-powered aircraft. 

Earlier in his career, Stewart founded a company to collect and process aerial imagery through the Yale Entrepreneurial Institute.

“JP is a respected member of Electra’s team, with both the leadership acumen and the technical expertise to guide the company’s exponential growth,” said John S. Langford, Founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Electra. 

“I’m excited to collaborate with JP as he leads the Electra team through the first flight of the full technology demonstrator aircraft later this year, and beyond through aircraft certification to commercial production of Electra’s hybrid-electric ultra-short takeoff and landing (eSTOL) aircraft.” 

A graduate of Virginia Tech, Stewart was selected in college as an Aviation Week & Space Technology “20 Twenties” laureate, awarded to the top 20 people in aerospace in their 20s. 

He is an avid pilot and flight instructor with more than 1,600 flight hours, and a member of the US Soaring Team who has competed in four World Gliding Championships. 

Stewart said: “I joined Electra to be a part of a brilliant and high-energy group of people driven to bring these revolutionary aircraft into the world and I am humbled by the opportunity to lead this team.”

In February, Electra.aero partnered with private air mobility platform Yugo, to help expand air mobility services to urban destinations in the Asia-Pacific region, with up to 12 of Electra’s eSTOL aircraft for use in an air mobility network to enable high-speed transportation services for passengers, and potentially cargo.

The two companies will also collaborate on eSTOL performance, economics, and passenger experience elements necessary to achieve Yugo’s projected operations. 

Earlier in February, Electra.aero was awarded a Phase III Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) contract from the US Air Force to support the development of hybrid-electric ultra-short takeoff and landing (eSTOL) aircraft.

The contract, awarded through the Air Force Agility Prime programme, will help accelerate Electra’s plan to begin flight testing a full-scale hybrid eSTOL technology demonstrator aircraft later this year.