Troy M. Gaffey
United States of America
Mr. Troy M. Gaffey serves as the Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of AVX Aircraft Company and served as its President and Chief Engineer. Mr. Gaffey oversees day to day operations at AVX Aircraft Company and is also the senior engineering authority on AVX programs. He joined AVX Aircraft Company in 2006 and has been critical to the advancement and growth of AVX. Previously, he served as Chief Engineer and Senior Vice President of Research and Engineering
From 'In Memoriam,' Vertiflite July/August 2022
Gaffey was born in Parsons, Kansas, on Feb. 11, 1938, and spent many of his formative years in Venezuela, where his father worked in the oil and gas industry as an exploration engineer. They moved back to Kansas for him to attend high school. In 1960, he earned a bachelor’s degree in aeronautical engineering from Purdue University. While at Purdue, Troy was a member of the Army Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC). (He also graduated from the Senior EEC Program at the MIT Sloan School in 1988.)
Gaffey’s first engineering job was working for Boeing in Wichita, Kansas, where he was selected to be part of the management training program. While at Boeing, he attended graduate school, studying towards a master’s degree in aeronautical engineering.
In 1962, Troy was called to service in the US Army. He first went through the Combat Engineering School at Ft. Belvoir and then went through fixed-wing flight school at Ft. Rucker. He then went to Ft. Wolters, Texas, for helicopter flight training, and served as an Aviation Officer flying piston engine helicopters, including the H-23, H-13, H-19 and H-34.
After his three-year obligation was up in 1965, Bell field engineers supporting the introduction of the UH-1 Huey into the Army fleet convinced him to go to work for Bell. Gaffey’s first job at Bell was as a dynamicist working on vibration and aeroelastic stability for the original AH-1 prototype, called the Huey-Cobra.
Then, he was asked to help with the shake test of the XV-3, was the first tiltrotor that Bell built to address an issue with the stability of the rotor on the wing. Gaffey was given the responsibility to find a solution to what was called the “X-Mode” vibration. He spent several years working on this, which drew him deeply into tiltrotor technology and design.
Gaffey later worked on the XV-15 tiltrotor program, which flew for more than 1,100 hours before it was retired. In 1982, Gaffey moved into the Project Management Office to support the development of the V-22 for the US Marine Corps, later becoming Technical Director for the V-22.
In 1990, Gaffey became Senior Vice President for Research and Engineering, holding that position until 2000, and managing a department of 1,500 engineers.
In 2003, Gaffey retired from Bell, having a total of 38 years with the company. He played a major role in the development of tiltrotor aircraft and managed the technical, schedule, cost, procurement, and production aspects of many Bell helicopters, among them the V-22, BA609 (now AW609) and Eagle Eye tiltrotors, as well as the AH-1Z and UH-1Y attack and utility helicopters for the US Marines, and the Bell 407, 430 and 427 commercial helicopters.
In 2006, Gaffey became acquainted with David Brody, who was in the process of forming AVX. Brody convinced Gaffey to lead the new company and form an engineering team to develop a commercial helicopter. Since 2006, AVX has grown significantly and built a strong reputation for advanced vertical lift aircraft designs and technologies. Gaffey’s positions at AVX included President, CEO and Chairman of the Board; he retired from AVX in September 2020.
Gaffey was the recipient of numerous industry awards, including the AIAA F.E. Newbold Award for outstanding creative contributions to the advancement and realization of powered-lift flight; VFS Honorary Fellow Award in 1994 for outstanding achievement in the vertical flight industry; VFS Paul E. Haueter Award in 1989 for significant contributions to the development of vertical takeoff and landing aircraft other than helicopters; VFS Dr. Alexander Klemin Award in 1999 for notable achievement in advancement of rotary-wing aeronautics; and the VFS Alexander A. Nikolsky Honorary Lectureship in 2002 for reflecting the highest ideals, goals, and achievements in the field of helicopter aircraft engineering and development.
Troy Michael Gaffey, Sr. passed away on May 31, 2022, at the age of 84. He was a VFS Technical Fellow and Emeritus Member, and the 2002 Nikolsky Lecturer. Gaffey’s first engineering job began in 1960 and he retired in 2020, a career that spanned 60 years.