As the grandson of legendary aviators, Erik Lindbergh understands the unique opportunity he has to focus industry and public attention on the miracle of flight. Along with the renowned name, however, comes the concomitant pressure to excel, pioneer and push the boundaries of aviation.
Throughout his career, Lindbergh has proven that he is up to the task. As the co-founder and executive chairman of VerdeGo Aero, which provides powertrain systems and engineering services to the emerging electric aircraft industry, co-host of The Lindberghs podcast, chairman of the board of the Charles and Anne Morrow Lindbergh Foundation, and a trustee of the XPRIZE Foundation, Lindbergh is intent on making aviation “permanently sustainable.”
“With the right people and the right technology, we can make aviation truly sustainable.”
In 2002, the accomplished pilot retraced his grandfather’s groundbreaking solo flight from New York to Paris on its 75th anniversary, raising more than a million dollars for the XPRIZE Foundation, which encourages technological developments to benefit humanity. Lindbergh is a big believer in “prize philanthropy” as an incentive to spur innovation, and he helped launch the XPRIZE Foundation in 1996, which ignited the present commercial spaceflight revolution.
The Lindbergh Foundation and the XPRIZE Foundation have created the Forever Flight Alliance to rapidly accelerate sustainable aviation. The alliance is identifying key technical, economic and policy challenges and exploring potential prizes to find solutions that will transform flight in the 21st century.
Lindbergh is looking ahead to 2027, the 100th anniversary of the epic flight of The Spirit of St. Louis, which itself was incentivized by the $25,000 Orteig prize, which was established to reward the first aviator to fly nonstop from New York to Paris.
“The centennial of the New York to Paris flight provides a powerful opportunity to focus on sustainability in aviation,” said Lindbergh, who is inviting the aerospace community to join the alliance as a fitting way to celebrate the anniversary of the historic 1927 flight that made people believe in the future of air travel.
“Low- and eventually zero-carbon flight will keep us in the air,” said Lindbergh. “With the right people and the right technology, we can make aviation truly sustainable.”
Erik Lindbergh is a pilot, entrepreneur, environmentalist, mountain biker, backcountry skier and artist. He is a founding director of Seattle’s Aviation High School and is committed to a life of service to future generations.