Charles McHugh was born and raised in Lancashire, England.   His childhood was influenced by airliners overhead on approach to Liverpool and Manchester civil airports; and given the benefit of hindsight, it was obvious to all that he was destined for a career in aviation from a very - very young age.  At 13 years old, he joined the Air Training Corps and was flying open cockpit gliders solo at age 16.   Charles was educated at Prescot Grammar School school where a future in academia was clearly not meant to be; but his art teacher did recognise the potential of Charles' artwork and provided much encouragement to develop it further.  An obvious progression to Art School was not meant to be and Charles joined the RAF in 1977, initially working in Air Traffic Control. 

During his 7 years in ATC he was able to fly as a passenger in numerous RAF and NATO partner aircraft.  In 1985 fortune smiled upon him, and he retrained as RAF Aircrew training as an RAF Helicopter Crewman enjoying the period when battlefield helicopters were crewed by a single pilot and Crewman, demanding a wide scope of tasks including Mission Management, Navigation, and limited Aircraft Engineering.  Through hard work he achieved a Central Flying School A2 flying instructor standard on several helicopter types, and accumulated 6000 flying hours and enough life experiences to justify writing a book one day.

After a 37 year career, Charles retired from the RAF in November 2014; his final military tour being Air Operations Manager of the RAF Cosford Air Show.  He continues to serve the UK air show industry as CAA qualified Flying Display Director, or as a member of a Flying Control Committee ensuring that these dynamic and exciting events are balanced in favour of Flight Safety.  He is highly qualified for this task benefitting from formal qualifications earned during his military career.

Charles practised artistic creativity throughout his life as a financially self-sustaining hobby.  Charles received no formal art training; but instead studied many academic aspects of art developing his own natural aptitude for drawing and painting over forty years.  His inspiration is to recreate photo realistic artwork using the techniques of the Great Masters.  To achieve this demands a continual learning process, and as a full time professional artist nowadays, this process is ongoing.

Charles is keen that aspiring artists reap the advantages of the internet age and develop their own skills and techniques much more expeditiously then he did.  Having learned himself by the traditional route of study, trial and error; Charles will, when appropriate, act as mentor to assist inexperienced artists in avoiding the pitfalls that he experienced.

His mission statement is 'Preserving Aviation Heritage through Art' - something that he is passionate about; ensuring that Aircraft, Aircrew, and Groundcrew, all receive the accolades that they deserve.  He thrives on creating family heirlooms, by adding pencil Remarque drawings to his Limited Edition Prints making the print very personal; often including portraits of a family member or specific aircraft flown during his/her military service.  Commissioned artwork is possible, and the professional quality paints Charles uses are chosen carefully to ensure longevity.  Please contact by email, telephone, or in person to discuss your requirements.

Penzance heliport Cornwall - 1969 - aged 9 years

Teaching on the Bell 412 helicopter in Jamaica c2003



Orders and enquiries: *44 (0)1939 251241 Timezone - United Kingdom

Email  artist@aeroartist.com

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