Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Charles Kaman's Passing

Charles Kaman 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.

He was born in 1919 in Washington, D.C., the son of a construction supervisor. He later attended Catholic University of America, graduating 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.

Ovation Prototype
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.

 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.

Kaman died in Bloomfield, Connecticut, aged 91, on January 31, 2011.


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