Charles Kaman

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Charles Huron Kaman
Image of Charles Huron Kaman.jpg
Born(1919-06-15)June 15, 1919
Washington, D.C.
DiedJanuary 31, 2011(2011-01-31) (aged 91)[1]
OccupationAircraft 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)
ChildrenC. William Kaman II, Steven W. Kaman and Cathleen Kaman Wood

Charles Huron Kaman (/kəˈmɑːn/ kə-MAHN; June 15, 1919 – January 31, 2011)[1] was an American aeronautical engineer, businessman, inventor and philanthropist, known for his work in rotary-wing flight[2] 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.[3]


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.[2] In January 1947, the Kaman K-125 helicopter first flew. It utilized intermeshing rotors and Kaman's patented servo-flap rotor control.[2] 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.[2]


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,[4] featuring a rounded back design.[5] Kaman also founded Kaman Industrial Technologies [1], 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.[2]

Marriage and children[edit]

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.[6][7] He had three children — C. William Kaman, II; Steven W. Kaman; and Mrs. Cathleen Kaman Wood.


Kaman died in Bloomfield, Connecticut, on January 31, 2011, at the age of 91.[1] He had suffered from Alzheimer's disease in his last years.


Kaman was awarded honorary degrees by the University of Connecticut, the University of Hartford, and the University of Colorado.[2] His other honors included:


  1. ^ a b c Press release "Statement from Kaman Corporation, On the Death of Company Founder, Charles Huron Kaman". Kaman Corporation, January 31, 2011; retrieved February 1, 2011
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Hall of Fame/Inventor Profile: Charles Kaman Archived 2009-01-06 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ Aeroplane Monthly June 2006 p.61
  4. ^ Sweetman, Bill (February 2, 2011). "Helicopters, Guitars And Other Inventions". Aviation Week. Archived from the original on 2012-10-17. Retrieved February 3, 2011.
  5. ^ "Historical Charts"
  6. ^ Brown, Rodney H. (1 February 2011). "Kaman Corp. founder Charles Kaman died at 91". Mass High Tech. Boston Business Journal.
  7. ^ Rich, Motoko (2 February 2011). "Charles H. Kaman, Helicopter Innovator, Dies at 91". New York Times.
  8. ^ a b Preston 2007, p. 38
  9. ^ "Wright Brothers Memorial Trophy > Wright Bros. 1990–1999 Winners"
  10. ^ "The National Medal of Technology Recipients: 1996 Laureates"
  11. ^ Grossnick 1997, p. 654
  12. ^ "Kaman Honour"
  13. ^ Sprekelmeyer, Linda, editor. These We Honor: The International Aerospace Hall of Fame. Donning Co. Publishers, 2006. ISBN 978-1-57864-397-4.

13 < (retrieved 7/5/2018)


External links[edit]

U.S. Patent 2,668,595 — Rotor Control Mechanism for Aircraft of Rotary Wing Type