BLOOMFIELD, Conn. (AP) _ Kaman Corp. on Tuesday reported a slight increase in first quarter earnings despite a slowing economy.

The manufacturer of helicopters, aircraft parts and musical instruments reported earnings of $8.7 million, or 38 cents per share, for the quarter, compared with $8.5 million, or 36 cents a share, a year ago.

Revenue for the three months that ended March 31 was $244.7 million, a drop of 7 percent.

Profits fell to $10.2 million from $10.8 million for the Bloomfield-based company's aerospace business. Profits also sank to $5.1 million from $5.5 million for Kaman Industrial Distribution.

The company blamed the decline on a slowdown in the car and steel industries.

In addition, manufacturers served by Kaman in the West have closed because of California's energy troubles, the company said.

Kaman said Paul R. Kuhn was promoted from president and chief executive officer, to chairman. He succeeds company founder Charles H. Kaman, 81, who stepped down for health reasons.