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01/31/2011

Aviation pioneer Charles Huron Kaman dies at 91

January 31, 2011 |  6:12 pm

Charles Huron Kaman, an aviation pioneer who founded Kaman Aerospace Corp., has died. He was 91.

Kaman died Monday, the company said.

Kaman was a 26-year-old engineer when he started Kaman Aircraft Co. in the garage of his mother's Connecticut home in 1945 with $2,000 from two friends. He was chief executive from 1945 to 1999.

He started the company to demonstrate a rotor concept he devised to make helicopters more stable and easier to fly. The company, based in Bloomfield, Conn., has been credited with breakthroughs, including the first gas turbine-powered helicopter, the first twin-turbine-powered helicopter and the first remotely controlled helicopter.

In 1996 President  Clinton awarded Kaman the National Medal of Technology, the nation's highest recognition for contributions to technical excellence. A year later he received the National Aeronautic Assn.'s Wright Brothers Memorial Trophy in recognition of his contributions to American aviation.

--Associated Press

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