Erik Gates.

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Well-Known Member
Feb 8, 2009
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It is with unbelievable sorrow that I inform you that former ROC BOD Member and TRA BOD Member and my very good and long time friend Erik Gates was involved in an accident at today. He did not survive. Details to follow. I have been in contact with his family and will post arrangements as soon as I have them. Please direct any communications to this email until we get this sorted out.

There are few words that can express our personal loss and the loss of a legend in the field of rocketry.

Fly high my Brother!

John Van Norman, ROC Board
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Details are still coming out, but I can tell you he suffered a tragic fall at a job site. I'll keep everyone updated as more details emerge.
Adding my thoughts and prayers for Erik's family and to those of you who are his friends.

For those who aren't aware, Erik posts at TRF under the name of Porthos II.
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Truly a tragic loss to our community. Erik was a booster of hobby rocketry and often pushed the envelop with his high power projects. His words of wisdom will be missed.

Our condolences to his family and friends.

Bob Krech
TRF High Power and Propulsion Moderator
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Condolences to the family and to his friends. My thoughts and prayers are with you all.
This is truly sad. The Gates Brothers have been an inspiration since I first saw their work when getting back into rocketry.
They have epitomized the way to do high power rocketry. Well thought out, well built and just damn good looking.
For those unfamiliar, here is their site:
I can't seem to wrap my mind around this. I'm stunned.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to family and friends.

I too am absolutely stunned !
A great loss to the rocketry community.

This his horrible! My sincerest thoughts and prayers goes to both his friends and family.
Like many folks in rocketry, my first contact was via email.

Then, in 2006, Pat Gordzelik was working with the X-Prize Foundation to find a collection of teams to build and fly projects for the inaugural X-Prize Cup. I was fortunate enough to be on a team, and Erik was on another.

To say that the X-Prize Cup was trying circumstances would be the ultimate in understatements. And while all of us went through our own version of hell, Erik was given the ultimate insult when, after he had hauled several of the Gates Brothers rockets to the event, he was told the stability of the Jayhawk was questionable, and it would not be allowed to fly. This is the same Jayhawk that had flown several times, each time flawlessly.

At that point, especially considering everything else we were being put through, a lot of folks would've said "to heck with this," tossed in the towel, packed up, and gone home. That would've been a very understandable reaction.

Not Erik.

Instead, he looked at it, said his form of "it is what it is, now what I can I do to help you guys?"

The event presented very trying circumstances, at best, but being rocketry folks, we all did what rocketry folks do -- pulled together, and helped one another. But one rose above the rest, and really put himself out and busted his butt helping each and every team -- Erik Gates.

That is how I met Erik, in person, for the first time. Needless to say, it made an impression, and one that I carry to this day.

Erik, you will be missed greatly. My heart goes out to your family.

What a sad day for Erik's family and the rocket community, Erik will be missed. He was always one to help you out if you needed it.
What a shock!! My thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends.

I'm stunned! OMG! While I did not know him personally, I knew of him. We were just discussing his being banned from RP just the other day here on TRF.

My heart and prayers go out to his family as well.
O this is very sad.

The irony is I noticed him on a recorded Mythbusters over the WE and pointed the fact out to my family.

May his family find true comfort during their loss.

My Condolences to the family and to his friends. My thoughts and prayers are with you all.
I can't even fathom this yet. I just taked to Eric Saturday. He will be greatly missed. I finally got to meet him at LDRS and the Steve Eaves launch and I am just stunned.

Like many of you, I did not know him personally. But I have visited the Gates Brothers site a lot. And always read what he had to say in his posts here and on other forums. Godspeed to you Erik. And condolences to his family.
As I've only recently been introduced to HPR, I am unfamiliar with this gentleman or his contribution to rocketry. I can say, though, that a loss of any sort in a community as close knit as ours seems to be, is felt by everyone. My prayers are with his family and friends.
Erik's contributions to our hobby are obvious and he will be missed. Our thoughts are with his friends and families.

-- Roger (and Bracha)
What a tragic loss. I never met with him in person but I knew of him. I filled a few orders for him back when I was helping a vendor out, and recently he and I were corresponding about the SS event.
I'm shocked !

It has been a horrible year for rocketeers,
lets hope for a less tragic 2010...

My Deepest Sympathies go to his family....
A buddy of mine and I were just chatting about him and some of his work just last night....
WOW.... This is...sudden. A tragedy and loss.
My sympathies, prayers and thoughts for him and his family.
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