United States of America
1946 - 2017
Charles A. "Chuck" Vehlow was born in Waukesha, Wisconsin, on Feb. 10, 1946. He entered the US Military Academy in West Point, New York, and upon graduation in 1968 was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the US Army’s engineering branch. In October 1969, 1st Lt. Vehlow reported for a one-year course in helicopter training. Upon graduation, he went to South Vietnam, where he joined the 101st Airborne Division as a pilot flying the AH-1G Cobra. As an Army combat pilot, he was highly skilled and highly decorated, earning the Silver Star, three Distinguished Flying Crosses and the Bronze Star. Of his 1,900 hours of military flying, 715 were in combat in Vietnam.
Vehlow later earned a master’s degree in aeronautical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1975. He also earned an MBA from Long Island University and graduated from both the US Army War College and the US Naval War College. He also served as an associate professor of aeronautics at the US Military Academy, where he developed and taught the Helicopter Design Course, including classroom and flight-test activities. He also served as the executive assistant to the Army Deputy Chief of Staff for Research, Development and Acquisition (RDA) at the Pentagon.
In aerospace companies, Vehlow held top positions, including Vice President for the Apache Programs at McDonnell Douglas/Boeing Helicopter, and VP/General Manager of the Boeing Helicopter Division. In these positions, he was responsible for major defense aviation programs, including the Apache Longbow, Chinook, Comanche and V-22. His time at McDonnell Douglas/Boeing spanned 1988–2000, followed by a return to be the president of MD Helicopters, Inc. in 2006–2007, during which time he also reported to the chairman of Patriarch Partners, Lynn Tilton, as the CEO of the Aerospace Platform. He then started Gauntlet Aviation, LLC,
as an aerospace consultancy to help small-to intermediate growth firms serve and reach aerospace customers.
As a commercial pilot and flight instructor, Vehlow flew more than 3,200 hours in 30 different aircraft, and certified 26 private, commercial and instructor pilots. In recognition of his distinguished career, he was inducted into the Wisconsin Aviation Hall of Fame in 2014.
Charles A. "Chuck" Vehlow died in Scottsdale, Arizona, on July 8, 2017. Vehlow had distinguished himself during a 46-year career as a military and civilian pilot, aeronautics scholar and professor, and aerospace executive.
AHS Update: Vertiflite September/October 2017