William R. Murray
United States of America
1913 - 2008
William R. Murray was a former president of Kaman Aerospace Corporation. After graduating from high school in 1940, he served as a Naval Aviator in World War II. After the war, he launched a career in experimental testing and development of rotary wing aircraft working for company founder Charles Kaman at Kaman Aircraft Corporation. As a test pilot, he was fearless and a natural leader, inspiring those around him. Within the still-young helicopter industry, he developed many of the techniques and processes required for flight testing and aircraft qualification.
During this time, he participated in the development of the intermeshing helicopter blade and the servo flap controlled rotor – both signature Kaman achievements. He flew the world’s first helicopter to be mechanically driven by a turbine engine and the world’s first twin turbine- powered helicopter, and set several world aviation records that stand to this day. He was involved in testing the Rotordyne compound helicopter in England to speeds of up to 200 kts and at various times was engaged in experimental component testing on helicopter rotors, turbine engines, isolation systems, tail and tail rotor design, and armor and armament systems, including the latest development of the SH-2F LAMPS helicopters.
At the Naval Air Station in Patuxent River, Maryland, he served as a demonstration test pilot at the Naval Test Center. During his career, he held the positions of test pilot, chief test pilot, chief of test operations, vice president of test operations, executive vice president and president of Kaman Aerospace Corporation. In 1974, he received the J.H. Doolittle Award in recognition of his pioneering aviation achievements. He was a member of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots, The Tailhook Association, and past President of the National Museum of Naval Aviation, Pensacola.
Mr. Murray passed away in Hartford, Connecticut on February 23, 2008. He was 85.