Born: United States of America
Primarily active in: United States of America
Kenneth B. Amer was a leader in the development of rotorcraft technology during his distinguished tenure of over three decades at Hughes Helicopters.
Ken began his engineering career by earning a Bachelor’s degree in aeronautical engineering from New York University. During World War II, he served in the Army Air Corps at Edwards Air Force Base. After the war, he continued his education at MIT by earning a Master’s degree and in 1947 joined NACA at Langley Field. Ken undertook pioneering work in helicopter vibration control and flying qualities. While there, he was the author or co-author of many technical reports.
In 1953, Ken with his wife, Hedie, and two young sons moved to California where he began work at the Aircraft Division of Hughes Tool Company—which later became Hughes Helicopters—the company he would loyally serve for 32 years. He rose to the position of Manager of Technology, guiding the work of approximately 200 engineers and technicians. His responsibilities included structures, dynamics, aerodynamics, stability and control, performance, structural test, weight management, and materials and processes.
In this position, Ken was a major contributor to the successful development of the Model 300, the OH-6A, and the AH-64 Apache. His keen insight and understanding of helicopter technology helped steer the company through numerous difficulties.
During his long career, Ken received numerous awards. In 1976, he received the AHS Alexander Klemin Award, in 1985 he was made an AHS Honorary Fellow, and in 1988 he presented the Alexander A. Nikolsky Lecture — "A "New" Philosophy of Structural Reliability, Fail Safe Versus Safe Life." He also became a Fellow of the McDonnell Douglas Corporation in 1986. He also worked for the AHS as Forum Technical Chairman in 1970 and as the AHS Technical Director the following year.
AHS Update: Vertiflite Fall 2004