Kaman, founder of Conn. aerospace firm, dies

Charles Huron Kaman (keh-MAN'), the founder of Kaman Aerospace Corp., has died. He was 91.

The Bloomfield, Conn., company said 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 for 54 years, from 1945 to 1999.

He started the company to demonstrate a rotor concept he devised to make helicopters more stable and easier to fly. It was credited with breakthroughs including the first gas turbine-powered helicopter, the first twin-turbine-powered helicopter and the first remotely controlled helicopter.

Today it's a $1.2 billion company that makes and distributes a wide range of parts for commercial, military, and general aviation fixed and rotary wing aircraft.

With his late wife, Roberta, Kaman also founded Fidelco Guide Dog Foundation, which breeds and trains guide dogs for the blind.