Aviation Pioneer Founder Of
Kaman Aircraft Passed Away At 91
February 2, 2011 - Charles Huron Kaman, founder of Kaman
Aircraft, was one of the leading aviation pioneers of
the 20th century died on Tuesday,
started the company to demonstrate a new rotor concept
he devised to make helicopters more stable and easier to
fly. Over the next half-century, Mr. Kaman built the
company into a worldwide leader in the aviation
industry. Kaman Aircraft, now Kaman Corporation, has
become a billion-dollar company.
pioneer in rotary-winged flight and one of Connecticut’s
great inventors and innovators, Kaman’s helicopters
achieved many breakthroughs, including the first gas
turbine-powered helicopter, the first
twin-turbine-powered helicopter, the first remotely
controlled helicopter and the first all-composite rotor
blade. Over the years his helicopters set numerous
records for performance and altitude.
The company produces and/or markets widely used
proprietary aircraft bearings and components; complex
metallic and composite aerostructures for commercial,
military and general aviation fixed and rotary wing
aircraft; safing and arming solutions for missile and
bomb systems for the U.S. and allied militaries;
subcontract helicopter work; and support for the
company’s SH-2G Super Seasprite maritime helicopters and
K-MAX medium-to-heavy lift helicopters.
Charlie Kaman, as he was affectionately known by so
many, was a bona fide aviation pioneer and helicopters
were his first love. He founded Kaman Aircraft
Corporation in 1945 and went on to lead our company as
CEO for an astounding fifty-five years. He led a
remarkable life as an inventor, entrepreneur, musician,
humanitarian and visionary. His career was, in many
ways, the epitome of the American dream.
Charlie Kaman, as he was affectionately known by so many, was a bona fide aviation pioneer and helicopters were his first love. He founded Kaman Aircraft Corporation in 1945 and went on to lead our company as CEO for an astounding fifty-five years. He led a remarkable life as an inventor, entrepreneur, musician, humanitarian and visionary. His career was, in many ways, the epitome of the American dream.
While Kaman Corporation stands as a testament to his significant business accomplishments, a series of distinguished awards speak to his technological and humanitarian achievements. Mr. Kaman received many honors from his peers and other admirers.
The Kaman SH-2G Super Seasprite is a ship-based
helicopter with anti submarine, anti-surface threat
capability, including over-the-horizon targeting. This
aircraft extends and increases shipboard sensor and
weapon capabilities against several types of enemy
threats, including submarines of all types, surface
ships, and patrol craft that may be armed with anti-ship
missiles. It was originally developed for the
In 1997, he joined other aviation greats Charles Lindbergh, Jimmy Doolittle, Neil Armstrong and Igor Sikorsky as a recipient of the National Aeronautic Association's Wright Brothers Memorial Trophy, the nation's premier aviation award. President Clinton presented him with the National Medal of Technology, the nation's highest recognition for contributions to technical excellence, in 1996. He founded the Fidelco Guide Dog Foundation, which has enabled thousands of the visually impaired to live more independent and productive lives.
In the end,
Charlie Kaman was all about human potential. Of all of his technical
accomplishments, he was most proud of the more than 15,000 lives that
Kaman helicopters were estimated to have saved in rescue missions over
the second half of the 20th century. In the company’s 1967 Annual
Report, he said, ‘Kaman Corporation is people. The most important factor
in our growth has been the demonstrated capability of our people to rise
to new challenges, meet them, and go on from them. Their devotion and
dedication to our common goals is a source of strength and inspiration
to all of us.
Charles H. Kaman was intent, in all of his endeavors, on creating an environment of integrity where people could realize personal and mutual achievement while serving the customer to the best of their abilities. In doing so, that brought them satisfaction and success as well as benefits to many other people. That’s what excited Charlie Kaman and that ideal will live on in the company he founded.
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