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Initiator001

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Some folks on this forum may recall hearing about a new hobby rocket company in the late 1980s. It's name was Enertek.

It featured Lee Piester as President, Gary Rosenfield as Vice-President and Bill Stine as Marketing Director. Plus, a cast of thousands! (Just kidding).

My title was Customer Service Director.

Enertek was to take model rocketry from where it had been for the previous 10-15 years and move it to another level.

That was the idea, anyway.

More on this subject as I have time to type.

Enertek Officers (Clean) Nov 1987.jpg


Enertek Officers (Clean) Nov 1987.jpg
 
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Initiator001

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When I first visited Enertek in October 1987, the company only had one dedicated employee (Bill Stine).

Bill was working on everything! He was building the prototype of what later became known as the Mantis launch pad. He was creating the launch pad out of sheets of styrene plastic.

Here's a picture of the upper assembly of the launch pad. Bill's shirt & tie are in the background.
 

Initiator001

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During my first visit to Enertek, I visited Lee in his office.

He had many mementos of his Centuri days. I remember an Enerjet 54mm 'I' motor casing, an X-21 glider and a few other built up kits.

Lee had very nice framed up examples of Centuri kit packaging. In fact, Lee is an exceptional graphic artist. His finishing concepts became the ones used for all the Enertek sport kits. I can only guess that he did the same for many Centuri kits.

Over to the wall beside his desk, he had a few concept ideas for Enertek kits. I think Grant Boyd may have built them. They were both 2.6"/BT-80 diameter.

So, forum readers, here for the first time anywhere, I present a picture of two prototype Enertek kits. They never became part of the final line.
Enertek Protos.jpg
 
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jflis

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oh man, these are incredible photo's and a wonderful slice of history. thanx!
 

Silverleaf

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Wonderful images..makes me pine for Centuri and Enertek rockets...*sniff*
 

Ryan S.

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very nice, it is always interesting to read up on some rocketry history.


btw I like that standard arm ;)
 

Initiator001

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Okay, folks.

Here's the cover of the 1989 Enertek Model Rocket catalog.

The fellow in the dark sweater is Bill Stine. The other fellow was a friend of the photographer.
 

Initiator001

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Okay, Scott, here you go.

Personally, THIS is how the cover of the Enertek catalog should have been. :D

Kneeling: Scott Branche

Standing: Me (Wow! I had hair, then)
 

sandman

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Bob,

More, more...we want more!

sandman
 

jflis

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sandman

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Looks like he's still waiting for a nice day so he can paint it too!:D

Glad to see things last.

sandman
 

Initiator001

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If things had worked out, AeroTech would have been absorbed into Enertek as the motor production side of the company.

Lee Piester, having had experience with composite hobby rocket motors dating back to the Enerjet days, found the motors lacking in visual appeal.

He wanted the Enertek motors to produce smoke, lots of it.

Lee asked Gary Rosenfield to develop a smoke propellant to use in the motors.

Once some test motors were ready, Lee came up to Las Vegas. All of us went out to El Dorado Dry Lake (Site of many rocket launches, including NARAM 34) for some test flying.

Here you see the AeroTech/Enertek gang setting up a rocket to launch on a 24mm motor (I think. I can't remember for sure).

L-R: Jim Dunlap, Gary Rosenfield, Lee Piester, Scott Pearce
 

Initiator001

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Here's the launch of the rocket from the previous picture.

Note the dark colored smoke. Remember, this was before White Lightning, Blue Thunder and all the other 'visual' propellant types.

One thing about this propellant was that it had a lower ISP.

As it turned out, Enertek decided not to use any sort of 'effects' propellant.

I think this propellant was what was later labeled by AeroTech as BlackJack.
 

rokitflite

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OK Bob, heres one... The Enertek booth at its first (and I think last) showing at the National Hobby Show in Chicago. There were A LOT of sleepless nights putting this darn booth together at a feverish pace!!! It was almost entirely made out of gator board which is a super sturdy form of foam-core. Bill Stine & Betty Piester mug it up for the camera. (wasn't this "fun" to build Bob???)
 

rokitflite

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Another frequent visitor to the Enertek shop was Mr. Harry Stine. He was always there making sure we were following all of the rocketry safety rules (in addition to giving his son a hard time). He was quite a character and I miss him.
(Gosh I look so young in that picture!)
 

rokitflite

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One of the BEST things about working for Enertek in Arizona was the plentiful launch sites! Ya gotta love the desert for that!!! This is me with a prototype of a radio controlled rocket plane. It was designed for hands-off control on launch and had VERY nice flights on G40s! (I'm in it so I assume Bob Sanford took the picture)
 

rokitflite

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Not to bad Jim...
I assume Fliskits is doing well judging from the fact that they are mentioned in almost every thread!!! And thanks for making that goofy picture of me show up again!!!:D
 

Initiator001

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Originally posted by rokitflite
OK Bob, heres one... The Enertek booth at its first (and I think last) showing at the National Hobby Show in Chicago. There were A LOT of sleepless nights putting this darn booth together at a feverish pace!!! It was almost entirely made out of gator board which is a super sturdy form of foam-core. Bill Stine & Betty Piester mug it up for the camera. (wasn't this "fun" to build Bob???)
Wow, Scott. Thanks for posting the picture of the completed booth. I don't have a picture of this!

Speaking of fun building the booth, here's a picture of some of the gang during a break in construction.

L-R: Gary Rosenfield, Bill Stine, Steve Gram & Scott Branche

View attachment 195634
 
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Initiator001

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Originally posted by rokitflite
This is me with a prototype of a radio controlled rocket plane. It was designed for hands-off control on launch and had VERY nice flights on G40s! (I'm in it so I assume Bob Sanford took the picture)
Yes, I took that picture. I was just looking at my copy of it.

You built some outstanding models back in those Enertek days. Sigh. Those days were fun.
 

Initiator001

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While public knowledge of Enertek was no secret, what we were working on remained out of sight.

While many people were curious, the 'Big E' was getting nervous. If Lee Piester was setting up a new model rocket company, that could mean serious competition for them.

So we kept a low public profile in the early days. However, large rocket meets were an excuse for all of us to 'just show up' and actually have a planning/discussion session back at the hotel.

Octoberfest 1987 was just such an occassion. Lee & Betty Piester along with Bill Stine drove out from Phoenix while the AeroTech gang came down from Las Vegas. Marc McReynolds had been building the scale models to be used for photography and working on some other 'interesting' ideas and drove from Los Angeles.

Here's a picture of some of us on the Lucerne lakebed. Dan Meyer is filming Gary Rosenfield talking about a 'then' current large model rocket kit and it's packaging while others look on.

L-R: Dan Meyer (holding camera), Bill Stine, Me (Preping my Magnum for flight), Gary Rosenfield & Doug Frost (How'd he get in the picture?!)
 

rokitflite

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Hey Bob,
Remember how Lee's video camera was like 20 pounds? Every time we watched one of his videos you would hear him grunting and sighing on the tape because it was so uncomfortable to hold!
 

Initiator001

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Okay.

The following is a 'declassified' picture.

During Octoberfest 1987, the entire Enertek/AeroTech staff met in a hotel suite to discuss various things. The curtins and blinds were drawn. We did not answer the door.

Presentations were made on various subjects.

Then Marc McReynolds took the floor to discuss what Lee had asked him to work on.

Marc showed off two of the three scale model prototypes he was building. Then he pulled out an F18-ish looking model painted up like an aircraft from the U.S. Navy's Demonstration Squadron, The Blue Angels.

It was cool.

It was going to be a boost- or rocket-glider model. Comments were made about a pre-programmed control system which would allow the model to fly a route on it's way in to land.

If only...

L-R: Marc McReynolds w/F18, Arcas, Astrobee 1500 (Sorry, I didn't have my flash).
 

Initiator001

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Originally posted by rokitflite
Remember how Lee's video camera was like 20 pounds? Every time we watched one of his videos you would hear him grunting and sighing on the tape because it was so uncomfortable to hold!
Yes. That and the fact he would forget and leave the camera running and end up with 20 minutes of footage looking at the ground.

Did you or I ever get copies of any of his videos?
 

rokitflite

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This picture is proof that while Bill And Lee were away the R&D department did not take itself too seriously. Here are a couple of interesting "models"... One of them Bob...
 

Initiator001

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After the meeting at the hotel, the next day the Enertek/AeroTech gang drove away from the main group at the Octoberfest launch to do some test flying.

First, however, was some picture taking.

L-R: Lee Piester, Marc McReynolds, Bill Stine
 

Initiator001

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Originally posted by rokitflite
This picture is proof that while Bill And Lee were away the R&D department did not take itself too seriously. Here are a couple of interesting "models"... One of them Bob...
Scott, you read my mind! I was trying to remember the name of that rocket as I was looking at pictures of it.

"CHOPS". Yeah, that was another of your neat rocket ideas.

Personally, I think the scarf adds 'class' to the picture. :cool:
 

Initiator001

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Here's a final picture from the 'secret' Enertek launch at Octoberfest 1987.

Here we see various staff members milling around while the Arcas prototype is prepared for flight on an E15 motor.

Sorry, no launch or flight shots. I filmed those with an old Super 8mm movie camera. I still have that footage.

L-R: Betty Piester, Bill Stine, Marc McReynolds (kneeling), Lee Piester, Scott Pearce
 

Initiator001

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Here, for everyone's viewing pleasure, is a picture of Our Hero reading his 'Chops' rocket for flight. Please note his attire as Scott was always a 'company' man. :)
 
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