Completed first solo flight on his 16th birthday
Lifelong committment to aviation in WV
Made aviation history ordering first six Embraer 120 Brasilia aircraft in the world
Operated AeroMech, an independent airline
Established KCI Aviation; FAA-certified aircraft repair station, aircraft charter, flight school, and refueling service
Helped facilitate the Bombardier West Virginia Air Center
Born on June 18, 1953, in Clarksburg, West Virginia, Charles Angelo "Chuck" Koukoulis was born into aviation as the son of a prominent aviation business owner. Chuck would soon set his own mark on the industry, creating lasting impacts on the state and beyond.
It was at an early age that Chuck developed a keen interest in aviation as his days were spent learning all facets of the family business, AeroMech, Inc. While working as an apprentice aircraft mechanic, he began honing his flying skills, and his first solo flight was on his 16th birthday. After graduating from Bridgeport High School in 1971, Chuck attended West Virginia University (WVU) and Salem College, while working in AeroMech's avionics department, as an apprentice mechanic for the Beech 99 fleet as well as in the company's marketing department.
During 1978-1980, Chuck worked to restore AeroMech’s Cessna Aircraft Dealership into a profitable enterprise, growing the dealership from from basic single-engine aircraft into the high product performance single-engine product line. In 1980, he was named Executive Vice President/General Manager of AeroMech and spent the next several years focused on airline operations. AeroMech achieved aviation history in 1980 when Chuck ordered the first six Embraer 120 Brasilia aircraft in the world. He was part of the flight crew that flew the fifth Embraer 110 to enter the US from the factory in Brazil. AeroMech became an independent airline in 1982 and was the second largest carrier at Greater Pittsburgh Airport at that time, operating 43 flights to 17 cities from three gates at the terminal. AeroMech merged with Wright Airlines in 1983, and, thereafter, Chuck established KCI Aviation at the North Central WV Airport in Clarksburg, WV (KCKB). The company provided an FAA-certificated aircraft repair station, aircraft charter, flight school, and refueling services. KCI's key emphasis on pilot training included the development of several collegiate-level programs and a foreign exchange program.
In late 1987, Koukoulis was contacted by the Short Brothers aircraft company of Belfast, Ireland. The result of that effort developed into what is now the Bombardier West Virginia Air Center. Drawing from his airline experience, Koukoulis pursued the same depot-level maintenance service for the corporate aircraft sector and achieved many milestones. KCI became an integral part of Pratt & Whitney's logistical support and one of only three Centers of Excellence worldwide - the only one in the US - providing Post Rental Inspection work on turbofan engines for Pratt &Whitney's Leasing Division.
Chuck's dedication to aviation is tireless and irrefutable. His lifelong commitment and drive have provided opportunities to countless individuals. His accomplishments have helped strengthen the State of West Virginia’s presence in the aerospace industry. We are honored to recognize his contributions to aviation, the region, and our state.