A native of New York City, Charles N. Coppi grew up during World War II and was supremely inspired by the Supermarine Spitfire with its Rolls-Royce Merlin engine. His passion for aviation and aircraft design led to his graduation from New York University in 1952. He began his career with Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corporation at Bethpage, Long Island, where he designed the then-revolutionary Gulfstream business aircraft which, for the first time, provided business travelers with an aircraft designed specifically for their needs. Later, the Gulfstream production line was moved to Savannah, Georgia, where it remains today. Coppi served as engineering manager on the Gulfstream II turbojet aircraft and continued his career in Savannah by leading Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation engineering through the development of Gulfstream Ill, IV, and the intercontinental-range Gulfstream V air¬craft. During this time, Gulfstream Aerospace grew to become one of the world's premier aerospace companies. His Gulfstream experience produced a lasting and unique relation¬ship between Coppi and the Rolls-Royce organization as the supplier of quality engines for all five Gulfstream aircraft. In recognition of a long professional and personal association, Rolls-Royce created the Charles N. Coppi Award, given annually to outstanding students serving technical apprenticeships. After retiring as Senior Vice President of Engineering and Technology, Mr. Coppi moved to Woodstock, Georgia. He has received numerous awards, including the Federal Aviation Administration's Distinguished Service Award, the Aircraft Design Award of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, and the Meritorious Service Award of the National Business Aircraft Association. Gulfstream Aerospace and the Gulfstream V industry team were selected as the 1997 recip¬ient's of the National Aeronautic Association’s prestigious Robert J. Collier Trophy which honors the year's top aeronautical achievement in the United States.
For his outstanding contributions in the development of technologically advanced intercontinental business jet aircraft, Charles N. Coppi was enshrined in the Georgia Aviation Hall of Fame on April 21, 2001.