History of Innovation at Kaman Corporation

Charles Kaman: History of Innovation

History of Innovation Timeline

"One of the first steps in any endeavour is overcoming the discouraging advice of those who say it can't be done"

Charles H. Kaman

Charles Kaman founds Kaman Aircraft Corporation in 1945
Charles H. Kaman, Founds Kaman Aircraft Corporation, Sets His Sights on New Helicopter Design

With $2,000 and his invention of the servo-flap controlled rotor, 26-year-old Charles H. Kaman founds Kaman Aircraft Corporation on December 12, 1945. The company is equipped with his ideas about rotary-wing aircraft and $5,000 worth of laboratory rigs and hardware.

The Kaman K-125 helicopter takes flight
The Kaman Team Meets Deadline for First Flight of the K-125

The K-125, Kaman's first helicopter, takes flight, meeting an investor's January 15, 1947, deadline. The Kaman team works seven-day weeks to meet this milestone. They successfully get the intermeshed contrarotating twin rotor design in the air in time to secure $64,000 of additional funds.

An improved version of the K-125 helicopter debuts
An Improved Version of the K-125 Debuts; Attracts U.S. Navy and Coast Guard Interest

K-225 - An improved version of the K-125 debuts. The U.S. Navy buys two and the Coast Guard buys one for $25,000 each. These orders turn the tide and put Kaman firmly in business. Later, the helicopter receives the H-22 designation.

The Kaman K-225 becomes the first helicopter to fly powered by a gas turbine engine
The Kaman K-225 Becomes the First Helicopter in the World to Fly Powered By a Gas Turbine Engine

The historic flight ushers in a transition of helicopter power from reciprocating to gas turbine engines. The Kaman K-225 becomes the first helicopter in the world to fly powered by a gas turbine engine, the Boeing B502-2. This aircraft is now part of the Smithsonian's collection.

The Kaman HOK-1 takes its first flight
Ordered for the U.S. Marine Corps, the HOK-1 First Flies

Ordered for the U.S. Marine Corps, the HOK-1 first flies; the Air Force version was the H-43A Huskie. Kaman Aircraft Corporation ultimately produced 340 H-43’s in various variants.

The Kaman HTK-1 becomes the world's first twin-turbine powered helicopter
Kaman Launches World's First Twin-Turbined Power Helicopter

A modified Kaman HTK-1, equipped with two Boeing 502-2 engines, becomes the world's first twin-turbine powered helicopter.

Kaman Aerospace Subcontracts, Producing Parts for the McDonnell F-101
Kaman Adds to Its Growing Customer Base; Becomes an Aerospace Subcontractor

Kaman diversifies as an aerospace subcontractor producing parts for the McDonnell F-101, Grumman aircraft, and others.

The Kaman HTK-1 is the first remotely controlled helicopter
Kaman Pioneers Pilotless Helicopter Flight with the HTK-1

The world's first remotely controlled helicopter leaves the ground. The modified HTK-1 builds on the hands-off flying already possible with the HTK. A broadcast of the drone helicopter flight on the "You Asked for It" television program captures public imagination.

Kaman first flies the HU2K, later known as the UH-2A Seasprite
Kaman Accomplishes the First Flights of the New Navy HU2K

Kaman would manufacture more than 240 of these helicopters, later known as the UH-2A Seasprite, over the next four decades. The helicopters would perform rescue duty for the Navy.

Kaman Composites Blade
Kaman Introduces the First All-Composite Blade

Kaman develops and flies the first helicopter with an all-composite main rotor blade.

Kaman UH-2A Sesprite
Kaman Delivers the UH2A Seasprite to the Atlantic and Pacific Fleets

The UH2A aircraft has more than twice the range, speed, and payload of the helicopter that it replaces. It can make rescues and perform previously impossible operations.

Kamatics KAflex coupling
Kaman Develops and Tests a Revolutionary New Type of Coupling for Mechanical Power Transmission

The KAflex coupling will prove to be a major product for the company. Because it can stand high loads, needs no lubrication, and is lightweight, it has the potential to replace a large portion of the aircraft and other power transmission couplings and shafts in use.

Kaman HH-43B helicopter
Kaman Recognized for Safety Record; Accident Rate Lower than U.S. Air Force Fixed-Wing Average

The HH-43B is recognized as having the best safety record of any helicopter ever in the military service. It also set numerous records for performance and endurance, including altitude and rate-of-climb records.

Kamatics KAcarb Self-Lubricated Airframe Bearing
Kaman Invents the KAcarb Self-Lubricated Airframe Bearing

Kaman invents the KAcarb self lubricated airframe bearing and launches what would become Kamatics Corporation. Kamatics self-lubricated bearings are now widely used throughout the Aerospace industry.

Charles Kaman Ovation Guitars
Ovation Guitar Launches; Becomes Favorite of Many Performing Artists, Including Glen Campbell

Charles Kaman, using composite technology and vibration, invents the Ovation guitar, beginning the Kaman Music Corporation. The popular round-backed guitar allows musicians to amplify their sound without generating the feedback that often comes from using microphones.

Kaman UH-2 helicopter
Modified Seasprites Serve as Twin Turbine Helicopters

A Kaman UH-2 with a J-85 jet engine and wings from a Beechcraft Queen Air can achieve airspeeds of more than 200 mph.

Kaman Distribution Products
Kaman Distribution Begins

In an effort to diversify, Kaman initiates what would eventually become Kaman Distribution when it acquires Reliable Bearing and Supply Co. of San Bernardino, CA and Western Bearings Inc. of Salt Lake City, UT. This marks the beginning of the more than $1 billion in sales distribution business.

Kaman SH-2F Seasprite LAMPS helicopter
The SH-2F Seasprite Enters U.S. Navy Service

SH-2F Seasprite - The LAMPS (Light Airborne Multipurpose System) Mk I enters U.S. Navy service. It can achieve maximum speeds of 149 mph and has a range of 410 miles.

Kamatics KAron liner system
KAron® Self Lubricating Bearing Material is Invented

The KAron® bearing liner system has been proven effective in the most demanding aviation, marine, and industrial applications.

Kaman All-Composite Rotor Blade
Kaman Designs the World's First Production All-Composite Rotor Blade for the Bell AH-1 Cobra Helicopter

Kaman designs and begins manufacturing the K-747 blade, the world's first production all-composite rotor blade for the Bell AH-1 Cobra helicopter. Total production exceeds 5,000 blades.

Kaman Space Shuttle Nose Cones
Kaman Aerospace (KAC) fabricates nose cones for the boosters of the US Space Shuttle
Kaman SH-2F LAMPS program extended
US Navy extends service life for KAC's SH-2F into LAMP's (Light Airborne Multi-Mission Platform)
Kaman participates in the Star Wars strategic defense initiative
KSC participates in "Star Wars" strategic defense initiative with weapons vulnerability studies
Optics and lasers for space telescopes
KAC and KSC develop optics and lasers for use in space telescopes for use on Space Shuttle
Kaman delivers first SH-2G helicopter
KAC delivers the first new SH-2G with state of the art avionics and mission electronics
Kaman awarded contract for Magic Lantern airborne mine system
KAC is awarded Navy contract for the development of "Magic Lantern," a new airborne mine sensor system
Kaman SH-2G Seasprite - new helicopter
The New Seasprite Enters U.S. Navy Service

SH-2G Seasprite - the new version of the Seasprite, with new avionics, mission electronics and GE T-700 engines, enters U.S. Navy service.

The K-MAX Aerial Truck receives FAA Certification
K-MAX Receives FAA Certification in Record Time

The K-MAX "Aerial Truck", the world's first helicopter specifically designed, tested and certified for repetitive external lift operations, receives FAA certification in record time. K-MAX incorporates features specifically designed for the lowest operating costs, highest level of safety and reliability, and overall economic viability for medium to heavy lift applications.

Kaman FMU-152A/B Joint Programmable Fuze
Kaman Receives Approval on Joint Programmable Fuze; Allows for More Flexible Response

U.S. Air Force authorizes Kaman Dayron to begin production of the advanced FMU-152A/B Joint Programmable Fuze, considered the fuze of choice for the future. The JPF allows pilots to reprogram the fuze in flight if the tactical situation on the ground changes.

Kaman K-MAX helicopter demonstrates unmanned cargo resupply
Team K-MAX Successfully Demonstrates Unmanned Helicopter Cargo Resupply to USMC

Team K-MAX successfully demonstrates unmanned helicopter cargo resupply to USMC, which shows the feasibility of supplying ground troops with an unmanned version of the K-MAX "aerial truck."

Kaman and Lockheed Martin awarded NAVAIR contract for K-MAX helicopter
Unmanned K-MAX To Be Demonstrated for U.S. Marine Corps in Afghanistan

Lockheed/Kaman Team K-MAX awarded NAVAIR contract for demonstration of unmanned K-MAX in Afghanistan for the U.S. Marine Corps.

The Kaman K-MAX delivers over one million pounds of cargo in less than four months
Unmanned K-MAX Exceeds Million-Pound Milestone

In less than four months, beginning in December 2011, the K-MAX helicopter delivers over one million pounds of cargo to forward combat areas in support of the U.S. Marine Corps in Afghanistan.

Kaman KFL-DM Coating
KamaticsRWG Introduces KFL-DM Dry Film Lubricant

KFL-DM, a thin polymer-based coating that lowers friction, reduces fretting wear, and extends service life in dynamic or high-vibration, static applications.

Knowledge Based Engineering integrated into blade development
Knowledge Based Engineering (KBE) Implemented In Blade Development

KBE, combining the capabilities of computer aided engineering tools for design, analysis, test and automated reports, creates significant cost and schedule savings for composite helicopter rotor development.

Kaman Distribution Acquisition Strategy
Kaman Distribution Group Introduces Three-Platform Strategy

Major acquisitions and customer focus prompt organizing under three categories: Bearings and Power Transmission, Fluid Power, and Automation

Titanium Diffusion Hardening TDH Products
Kamatics Develops Titanium Diffusion Hardening (TDH) Process

TDH yields a high-hardness case layer with nearly half the assembly weight of high-hardness stainless steel products.

K-MAX Rotor Blades
Kaman Launches Development of All-Composite Rotor Blade for K-MAX Helicopter

The program consists of design, manufacture, test, and qualification for the heavy lift aircraft's intermeshing rotor system.

Unmanned K-MAX
Development of Next Generation K-MAX Unmanned System Begins

This capability will provide autonomous aerial technology for commercial and military applications.