Born: 1916-09-15. Died: 2003-01-03. Birth Place: Texas.
Charlie Feltz was a plain-speaking engineer who had grown up on a cattle ranch in Moore County, Texas. After graduating in from Texas Tech University in Lubbock in mechanical engineering in 1940, he joined went to California and was hired by North American. During the war he worked on the P-51 and B-25 aircraft. In the postwar years he played roles of increasing responsibility on the B-45, F-86, and F-100. His performance as Chief Engineer on the X-15 program convinced NASA that he could walk on water. He was able to handle directly and without any runaround all aspects of the job of managing the translation of engineering designs into hardware - production design, managing the construction, getting the aircraft out of the door. When the time came to put together North American's Apollo proposal for NASA, Harrison Storms called Feltz from his sick-bed in Texas to join the program. He was thrown into simplifying the company's detailed design for Apollo by cutting out the unnecessary while still meeting NASA's fail-safe criteria. After North American won the competition, Feltz was made Chief Engineer, and then in 1964 Assistant Apollo Program Manager, with 1,000 engineers reporting to him.
Feltz worked on the Shuttle proposal, and after North American won that contract in 1972, moved again into the Chief Engineer, and then Program Manager positions. In 1974 he was made Technical Assistant to the President of the Downey Division, and then in 1976 he served as Technical Assistant in the corporate office. He worked as a problem-solver, tackling several developmental issues, notably the shuttle's tile problems. He retired from North American in 1981, having seen the shuttle into the beginning of flight operations. He then retired to Temecula, California, and began traveling the world.