# A Visit To Centuri Engineering

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#### Initiator001

##### Well-Known Member
Thanks to my new scanner, I can post images from prints and slides.

Back in June, 1974, my family was on a vacation trip. We stayed overnight in Phoenix and I was able to talk my folks into stopping by the Centuri plant the next morning on our way out of town.

We drove up to the plant early the next morning. The building had a sign letting us know we were at the right place...

#### Initiator001

##### Well-Known Member
Finding the building was easy.

The front door was a different experience. It was sort of hidden and in a poorly lit area...

#### Initiator001

##### Well-Known Member
The door led into a waiting area/range store. A woman was at a counter. Behind her there was an opening in the wall and I could see into a warehouse.

Centuri did not have tours as Estes did. There seemed to be one of every Centuri model built and on display. I took out my trusty X-15 camera and took some pictures of the models on display...

L-R: Saturn V, Unknown, Orion, Skylab-Orion.

#### Initiator001

##### Well-Known Member
Here's the sales counter and some more models on display. Notice the packaged kits hanging on the wall in the background...

#### Initiator001

##### Well-Known Member
Lastly, here is a picture of two starter sets on display.

That's all there was to see. I did buy an Screaming Eagle kit to take with me.

I flew that Screaming Eagle kit many times and sill have it.

I hope everyone enjoyed the tour!

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#### Aerobee300

##### Well-Known Member
Wow .... that was pretty neet ! A little bit of rocketry history !!!

#### bigT

##### Well-Known Member
Thanks for the pics. I too had the Screaming Eagle Starter Kit but I could not remember the name of the rocket until I saw it again. 30 years after the fact. OUCH!

#### Initiator001

##### Well-Known Member
I'm glad to see folks are enjoying my Centuri pictures. None of my friends at the time were interested in model rocketry so I didn't have anyone else to enjoy them.

At the time I had no idea that 13 years later I would be working for Lee Piester.

But, that's another story...

##### Well-Known Member
Might I Guess by your handle " Initiator001" that you worked for Lee at Enertek?

If not then, was it Hobby bench?

I always wanted to go to Centuri's plant myself, too. I lived in Paradise Valley, which is essentially a small town surrounded by Phoenix on three sides, but never did. Centuri was on the "west side" and My folks never ventured towards that end of town. Bummer.

My first experience with rockets was at a summer day camp in 5th grade. The camp had (and still has) a rocketry class. at the beginning of class, we got to choose a CENTURI rocket. There were no Estes kits present. I built an F15 Eagle, and a Jayhawk. The Eagle never flew, however. Thru the school, with a discount I bought an Eagle Power starter set for $9 that I still have today. Thanks for the walk down memory lane, and again thanks for posting the photos. #### Initiator001 ##### Well-Known Member Originally posted by Chr$
Might I Guess by your handle " Initiator001" that you worked for Lee at Enertek?

Yes, I worked at Enertek. I was listed as "Customer Service Director".

I worked with some great folks at Enertek. Bill Stine was my direct supervisor. Scott Branche had an R&D related title (I forgot it, sorry Scott). Steve Gram would finish his REAL job and come over and help out on occassion.

We saw Lee and Betty Piester once or twice a week. Gary Rosenfield would fly down from 'Vegas to visit. 'Other' rocketry folks would stop sometimes.

It was an exciting time. Enertek held much promise. Too bad it just never got going.

Hmmm. I guess I'll start an 'Enertek' thread and post some pictures from back then.

#### rokitflite

##### Well-Known Member
Hey Bob!
First off, I WAS the R&D Department! Second, How could you say we saw Lee "a couple times a week?" I seem to remember that it was almost every darn day! "Bob, what are you doing? We don't have time! Scott what are you working on? Did Bill tell you to do that?". Then again, when I wasn't at Enertek I was working at one of his stores so I got more exposure. Did you know Lee was getting his pilots license?
I loved the Centuri pictures!!! The only thing that would have made them better would have been pictures of little Bobby looking in wonderment at all of the cool rockets! I will try to scan some pictures of one of my Estes visits, but young goofy me was in every picture!
Thanks again for posting the cool pics Bob!!!

#### Dr. Don

##### Well-Known Member
I, too was a Centuri fan duringmy earlier Rocketry years.
These are a couple of kits out of my collection:

#### Initiator001

##### Well-Known Member
Originally posted by rokitflite
Hey Bob!
First off, I WAS the R&D Department! Second, How could you say we saw Lee "a couple times a week?" I seem to remember that it was almost every darn day! "Bob, what are you doing? We don't have time! Scott what are you working on? Did Bill tell you to do that?". Then again, when I wasn't at Enertek I was working at one of his stores so I got more exposure. Did you know Lee was getting his pilots license?
I loved the Centuri pictures!!! The only thing that would have made them better would have been pictures of little Bobby looking in wonderment at all of the cool rockets! I will try to scan some pictures of one of my Estes visits, but young goofy me was in every picture!
Thanks again for posting the cool pics Bob!!!
I'm glad folks are enjoying my Centuri pictures.

No doubt about it, Scott, you had good ideas when we worked together at Enertek. I would have liked to have seen the set of kits you designed make it into production.

You saw Lee more than I did. A pilots license?!

Sorry, there are few pictures of me from my time at AeroTech & Enertek. I prefer to be behind the camera rather than in front of it.

As for you, I have many pictures of you from our Enertek days. I guess I'll have to post some of them here to this forum...

#### rokitflite

##### Well-Known Member
"As for you, I have many pictures of you from our Enertek days. I guess I'll have to post some of them here to this forum..."

Oh God Bob...

Tower: Attention aircraft, you are not clear for a landing at this time!

Pilot: I, I don't have time, I'm very busy...

#### Initiator001

##### Well-Known Member
Originally posted by rokitflite
"As for you, I have many pictures of you from our Enertek days. I guess I'll have to post some of them here to this forum..."

Oh God Bob...

Aw, come on, Scott. You are very photogenic.

This from a guy who had his picture grace the Estes catalog for how many years?

#### graylensman

##### Well-Known Member
Well, Initiator, you MUST post those pics now!

#### rokitflite

##### Well-Known Member
I do have a couple of goofy pictures of you I will have to dig out if you do that Bob! We can compromise and just post the "alternate" Enertek catalog photo!

#### jflis

##### Well-Known Member
Originally posted by Dr. Don
I, too was a Centuri fan duringmy earlier Rocketry years.
These are a couple of kits out of my collection:
Lordy, hang on to that Orion! That's an eBay *giant*!

I got \$485 for mine about 2 years ago... a VERY sought after kit, that's for sure!

#### Gus

##### Well-Known Member
Thanks for posting the pics. I, too, grew up in Phoenix and have really indistinct memories of being in that front-office store. Phoenix was definitely a Centuri town. I remember the first time I saw an Estes product being surprised that some other 'little outfit" was trying to copy the "big guy" Centuri by getting into the rocket business. Then "those airplane people", Cox, got into the act by making all-plastic kits that weren't really rockets because you didn't have to build them. Sheesh, what were they thinking? Ready-to-fly rockets, what a stupid idea. No wonder it never caught on!

#### Initiator001

##### Well-Known Member
Originally posted by graylensman