Commercial, Products

Kaman Aerospace

By Staff Writer | January 1, 2005
Send Feedback

Performance to the Max.

Kaman Aerospace Corp. is a subsidiary of Kaman Corp. of Bloomfield, Conn. Kaman Aerospace manufactures the SH-2G Super Seasprite maritime helicopter, and is a subcontractor for various aircraft structures and components. The company also is a leading manufacturer of safe, arm and fuzing devices for missiles and bombs, rugged environment mass memory systems, precision measuring devices and electro-optic systems.

Better by Design


In recent years, the company has gained prominence with its K-MAX medium lift helicopter. Certified in 1994, K-MAX helicopters now operate in 10 countries around the world, growing in popularity due to their impressive vertical lift capabilities -- precisely the mission for which the K-MAX was designed.

Built to Lift

Conceived and designed to perform repetitive external lifting, the American-made K-MAX performs that mission better than any other helicopter in the world. The single-engine, single-seat K-MAX is a rugged workhorse, and no helicopter works harder or more efficiently.

Performance? The K-MAX can lift more than it weighs -- 6,000 pounds. Efficiency? The K-MAX burns 82 gallons of fuel per hour during lift operations, the most efficient lift-to-fuel ratio of any helicopter in its class.

Simple Design

To understand what makes the K-MAX better, just look to the original design.

A simple, straightforward design has resulted in fewer aircraft systems, and has shortened the load path between the engine and the rotor system, enhancing the airframe's ability to handle the stress loads generated between the rotor system and the cargo hook assembly during repeated lifting. This simplicity of design also enhances the safety and reliability of the K-MAX.

Cargo Hook/Trolley

Kaman designed and built the K-MAX around its cargo hook, which operates on a unique and functional trolley system. The trolley system allows the hook to move back and forth across the belly of the aircraft, enhancing aircraft and load stability.

Vertical Reference Design

The K-MAX was also designed around the concept of vertical reference flight, and the result is distinct advantages for pilots. For example, the aircraft's narrow profile and landing gear placement provide pilots with unprecedented views of the load from either side of the aircraft for enhanced control and more precise load placement.

An external instrument panel is strategically located outside of the cockpit, enabling pilots to actively monitor performance during load operations.

In addition, the K-MAX operates with a minimum number of systems that require pilot action or monitoring. The pilot can respond to all normal and emergency procedures without removing hands or feet from the controls.

Performance to the Max

The key to K-MAX efficiency is a distinctive, oversized, intermeshing rotor system with servo-flap control. The K-MAX uses counter-rotating main rotors but no tail rotor, so all engine power goes directly to the large main rotors for maximum lifting capacity.

The K-MAX consistently delivers superior, reliable performance. Mission after mission. Day after day. Year after year. Powered by a T53-17A-1 turbine engine with an excellent operating history of 53 million hours in service, the K-MAX can lift more than its own weight with power to spare. What's more, it maintains its performance, with less degradation than other helicopters when flying at high altitudes or hot temperatures.

Cost-Effective Operations

Profitability is the bottom line in any helicopter operation, and K-MAX has what it takes to be both effective and affordable. Its simplicity of design makes it easier and more cost effective to fly and maintain than some other helicopters.

For example, the K-MAX utilizes mechanical servo-flaps for rotor pitch control, eliminating the need for high maintenance hydraulic boost systems. The lack of a tail rotor eliminates two gearboxes, drive shafting and associated maintenance. In addition to its reduced maintenance requirements, the K-MAX requires less frequent maintenance and needs no special facilities for maintenance work.

One pilot and one mechanic, and you're ready to fly -- with less than one maintenance man-hour required per flight hour. The K-MAX also saves operators money on fuel. When it comes to productivity, no helicopter can outwork the K-MAX. It will fly every day with unmatched reliability. Numerous operators have flown more than 1,500 hours a year, moving from firefighting to construction -- or any other lifting mission required.

Receive the latest rotorcraft news right to your inbox