Kármán finished his preliminary schooling privately, than took his final examination at the University's teaching college founded by his father Mór Kármán. He obtained his diploma in mechanical engineering at the Budapest Technical University. After military service he held the position as assistant professor under Donát Bánki at the Technical University, then accepted an engineering position at Ganz Rt. He went to Germany on a scholarship, and in 1912 worked in Selmecbánya, but was unable to put his talent forth there. In that same year he accepted an offer for the position of professor from the University of Aachen. He then served in the military during World War I. After one year he was transferred from the clothing store where he worked to an aerodynamic laboratory in Vienna, a position befitting his talent and qualifications. With his colleauges he developed the first rotary wing aircraft, the PKZ helicopter. He returned home after the war, then emigrated in 1919, again to Aachen as a professor of the University, while lecturing in the USA as well. Finally in 1933 he settled in the USA, where he joined the rocket research team at the Guggenheim laboratory. He had major share in the design and production of many large rockets and in the world's first ballistic missile. In recognition of his work, craters were named after him on the Moon and Mars.
Rotary wing military helicopter used to replace observation balloons. Besides Tódor Kármán, István Petróczy, Vilmos Zurovetz and Oszkár Asbóth collaborated in its development.
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