1921 - 2016
Glidden Doman, a pioneer in the design of helicopters and wind turbines, passed away June 6.
Born in Syracuse, New York, in 1921, he came from a family of inventors and entrepreneurs. He majored in aeronautical engineering at the University of Michigan, and after hearing Igor Sikorsky speak at a Society of Automotive Engineers meeting he became interested in helicopter rotors. In 1943, Doman went to work for Sikorsky in Bridgeport where he participated in intensive experimentation and flight testing, making considerable improvements in the helicopters’ blade life. His contributions were so vital that Igor Sikorsky himself appealed to the draft board to keep him on the test program. In 1945 he left Sikorsky and founded his own firm, Doman Helicopters that he ran until 1969.
Soon after, Doman turned his rotor knowledge from flight to wind energy with breakthrough concepts in wind turbine design. For some 30-more years, he led the design evolution of wind turbines for major manufacturers on two continents, including United Technologies, Boeing and Aeritalia. In January 1978, he moved to Granby and became chief systems engineer of the wind energy program at Hamilton Standard. Drawing on his extensive knowledge of rotor dynamics for both helicopters and wind turbines, United Technologies/Hamilton Standard designed and built two of the largest wind turbines ever built up to that time.
In 2003, he formed a new company, Gamma Ventures Inc., to market production rights for the Gamma turbines he helped design in Italy. He held some two-dozen patents for helicopter and wind turbine-related technologies.
Doman remained active well into his 90s and was the last living founder of one of the original half-dozen companies in the American helicopter industry that included Igor I. Sikorsky, Frank Piasecki (Boeing), Arthur Young (Bell), Stanley Hiller and Charles Kaman.