Charles J. McCarthy

General Manager

1940 to 1943




Charles J. McCarthy was Chairmen of the Board for Chance Vought Aircraft from July 1954 to November 1960. A past Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Aerospace Industries Association, and past President of the Institute of the Aeronautical Sciences.  Mr. McCarthy also served as a member of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, the government’s foremost research committee in the aeronautical field. He was appointed by President Eisenhower in 1957 and served until the NACA was succeeded late in 1958 by the new National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

Mr. McCarthy was a native of Lawrence, Massachusetts. He graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1916 as a civil engineer and spent a year as assistant instructor in the Institute’s civil engineering department.

At the outbreak of World War I, he was retained by the Navy as an Aeronautical Draftsman in the Bureau of Construction and Repair, and one of his first jobs was in connection with the Navy’s ambitious plan of building the famous NC-boats. One of these airplanes, the NC-4, made the first crossing of the Atlantic Ocean in 1919. Mr. McCarthy worked on the project from inception to completion, making the bulk of the strength calculations on the structure. During this period, he was commissioned as an ensign in the U.S. Naval Reserve Force.

Upon completion of that duty in May 1919, Mr. McCarthy was transferred to Washington to be in charge of what is now the Bureau of Naval Weapons. He was responsible for preparation of structural strength requirements for all types of naval aircraft. He also served as project engineer on a Navy design for a large flying boat.

Having in the interim received a commission as lieutenant in the Construction Corps of the Navy, he was ordered to Philadelphia in 1925 as Assistant Shop Superintendent of the Naval Aircraft Factory.  In 1926, he resigned from the Navy to accept an appointment as Engineering Executive in charge of the engineering department of Chance Vought Aircraft division of United Aircraft Corporation (UAC). His first task was supervision of the O2U-1 design, the first of the famous Corsair combat aircraft.

Following the death of Chance Milton Vought in 1930, Mr. McCarthy was made Chief Engineer for the Chance Vought Division of UAC and was responsible for the engineering development of many Chance Vought airplanes which have led the rapid advances in naval aviation.  He was named Engineering Manager in 1934 and became Assistant General Manager in 1937.

In April 1939, Chance Vought Aircraft Division and Sikorsky Aircraft Division merged and formed the Vought-Sikorsky Aircraft. This company was located in Stratford, Connecticut.  In 1940, Mr. McCarthy became General Manager and held that post until 1943.  At that time, he was elected Vice President of UAC and transferred to East Hartford, Connecticut.

Among many tributes to his leadership in the aircraft industry, in 1957 he received the newly-established Edwin C. Musick Award of the Institute of the Aeronautical Sciences. This award, named in honor of a pioneer of overseas air transport routes, was instituted to stimulate water-based aircraft research At the end of World War II, there were several government studies made regarding the demobilization of the aircraft industry and the preservation of a sufficient production capability for future national defense.  All the studies recommended that dispersal, which had been somewhat achieved during the course of the war, be considered in the selection of a post-war industrial base and development. The citation honored Mr. McCarthy’s contributions as a pioneer in water-based aviation.

Mr. McCarthy was:

  • Director of the Dallas Council on World Affairs and of the Dallas Chamber of Commerce.
  • Member of the National Industrial Security Association, the National Industrial Conference board and the Dallas Citizens Council.
  • In 1956 through 1958, Vice Chairman of the Industrial Division of the Dallas Community Chest.
  • In 1954 through 1959, member of the National Defense Committee of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
  • Director of the Texas Research League
  • Member of the Board of Trustees of the Graduate Research Center, Southern Methodist University.