Born February 26, 1925 in Weirton, West Virginia, Angelo Koukoulis is a distinguished aviation professional who has been honored with numerous accolades throughout his career.
Upon graduating high school, Koukoulis enrolled in General Airmotive Technical School where he received his Federal Aviation Administration Airframe and Powerplant Mechanic certificate in 1943. Koukoulis was soon inducted into the Army Air Corps as a P47 fighter mechanic, serving from 1943-1945. His unit, the 48th Fighter Bomber Group 494 Squadron 9th Air Corps, arrived in Normandy 12 days after D-Day, providing much needed aircraft support at the airstrip located closest to the beaches. Following his Army discharge, he attended WVU and was employed by the University to oversee aircraft maintenance operations. He obtained his private pilot’s license in Morgantown, West Virginia in 1947.
He was appointed by the FAA as a Designated Aircraft Maintenance Inspector in February 1949. A new opportunity presented itself two years later when Koukoulis was invited, by what is now the Harrison County Commission, to operate a fixed base operation at Benedum Airport, now known as the North Central West Virginia Airport (CKB). His company, AeroMech, Inc., was the first Federal Aviation Administration radio repair station in the state. Koukoulis instituted an accredited course in career aviation through a local college and introduced the “buddy concept” for flight training, first used by the West Virginia University ROTC program and later adopted nationwide. In 1980 he founded West Virginia’s first fully certificated passenger airline, AeroMech Airlines, serving 23 cities in 7 states.
AeroMech, Inc. operated for 35 years as a Cessna dealer and a Cessna pilot center and at its peak, employed more than 250 personnel before merging AeroMech Airlines with Wright Airlines of Cleveland in 1983. Koukoulis was also instrumental in furthering the aviation industry by serving as a founding member and the first treasurer of the Regional Airlines Association of America, as well as serving as the Airport Manager of Benedum Airport for 22 years.
Today, Koukoulis’ legacy lives on through KCI Enterprises, Inc., known as KCI Aviation, an aircraft maintenance and repair organization. He has received various awards including the Charles Taylor Master Mechanic award in 1998. The State of West Virginia is proud to honor Angelo Koukoulis for his accomplishments in the field of aviation.