|Charles Huron Kaman|
June 15, 1919|
|Died||January 31, 2011
Bloomfield, Connecticut, U.S.
|Occupation||Aircraft designer, Musical Instrument designer|
|Spouse(s)||Helen Kaman (nėe Sylvander) (1945–1971; divorced);
Roberta Kaman (nėe Hallock; married from 1971 until her death in 2010)
|Children||C. William Kaman II, Steven W. Kaman and Cathleen Kaman Wood|
Charles Huron Kaman (// kə-MAHN; June 15, 1919 – January 31, 2011) was an American aeronautical engineer, businessman, inventor and philanthropist, known for his work in rotary-wing flight and also in musical instrument design via the Kaman Music Corporation.
Charles Huron Kaman was born in 1919 to Charles William Kaman and Mabel Davis Kaman in Washington, D.C., the son of a construction supervisor. He later attended Catholic University of America, gaining an engineering degree magna cum laude in 1940.
Kaman's first aircraft experience was working for Igor Sikorsky. In 1945, he started his own aircraft company, Kaman Aircraft, to pursue his own designs. In January 1947, the Kaman K-125 helicopter first flew. It utilized intermeshing rotors and Kaman's patented servo-flap rotor control. In 1951, the Kaman K-225 also used intermeshing rotors with servo-flap control and was the world's first helicopter to be powered by a gas turbine.
Kaman was an aficionado of the guitar, and in 1966, he founded Ovation Instruments. The company would become the Ovation Guitar Company and developed an acoustic guitar using aerospace composite materials, featuring a rounded back design. Kaman also founded Kaman Industrial Technologies , one of the largest industrial distributors in North America. He and his second wife, Roberta, created the Fidelco Guide Dog Foundation and developed a breed of German Shepherd to act as guide dogs.
Marriage and children
Kaman's first wife was the former Helen Sylvander. They married in 1945 and divorced in 1971. Later in 1971 he remarried, to Roberta Hallock, who died in 2010. He had three children: C. William Kaman, II; Steven W. Kaman and Mrs. Cathleen Wood.
- National Inventors Hall of Fame (2003)
- Honorary Fellow of the American Helicopter Society (1950)
- Wright Brothers Memorial Trophy (1997)
- National Medal of Technology (1996)
- Naval Aviation Hall of Honor at the National Museum of Naval Aviation (1996)
- Department of Defense Distinguished Public Service Medal (1995)
- Honorary Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society (1995)
- Press release "Statement from Kaman Corporation, On the Death of Company Founder, Charles Huron Kaman". Kaman Corporation, January 31, 2011; retrieved February 1, 2011
- Hall of Fame/Inventor Profile: Charles Kaman
- Aeroplane Monthly June 2006 p.61
- Sweetman, Bill. Helicopters, Guitars And Other Inventions Aviation Week, February 2, 2011; accessed February 3, 2011.
- "Historical Charts"
- Marital data per New York Times obituary
- Preston 2007, p. 38
- "Wright Brothers Memorial Trophy > Wright Bros. 1990–1999 Winners"
- "The National Medal of Technology Recipients: 1996 Laureates"
- Grossnick 1997, p. 654
- "Kaman Honour"
- Grossnick, Ray (1997). United States Naval Aviation 1910–1995. Washington DC: Naval Historical Center. ISBN 0-16-049124-X.
- "Hall of Fame/Inventor Profile: Charles Kaman". National Inventors Hall of Fame. Retrieved 2009-01-27.
- "Historical Charts". Ovation Guitars. Retrieved 2009-01-27.
- "Kaman Honour". Flight International: 6. 13–19 September 1995. Retrieved 2009-01-27.
- "The National Medal of Technology Recipients: 1996 Laureates". United States Patent and Trademark Office. Retrieved 2009-01-27.
- Preston, Anna (2007). Royal Aeronautical Society Handbook 2008. London: Royal Aeronautical Society.
- Wheeler, Tom (1992). American Guitars. New York: HarperCollins. ISBN 0-06-273096-7.
- "Wright Brothers Memorial Trophy > Wright Bros. 1990–1999 Winners". National Aeronautic Association. Retrieved 2009-01-27.
U.S. Patent 2,668,595 : Rotor Control Mechanism for Aircraft of Rotary Wing Type
-  : Obituary of Charles Kaman on the Kaman Corporation web site