The Model Rocket Industry and Hobby Rocketry Loses a Pioneer and Icon

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Dec 17, 2009
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The Model Rocket Industry and Hobby Rocketry Loses a Pioneer and Icon

Paul C. Hans passed away early Friday morning, April 9th, 2021 at the age of 74. Paul, along with Don Scott, were the first rocketeers to launch an 8mm movie camera in a model rocket in 1962 in Port Washington, NY. Later that year, they did it again at NARAM-4 at the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, CO, where they also made the very first egg loft flight with their movie camera rocket.

Paul became a behind-the-scenes icon in the model rocket industry and hobby rocketry with his investment in Enertek™ in 1987, which together with co-owners Lee Piester and Gary Rosenfield, created the first full-line mid-power rocket company since the demise of Enerjet™ in 1974. At the 1987 HIA Trade Show in St. Louis, MO, Enertek experienced instant success and demand for its exciting mid-power hobby rocket line, supported by beautiful packaging and aerospace-grade engineering and composite propellant technology. Unfortunately, due to the inability to raise additional capital to meet the initial demand, Enertek was forced into a voluntary liquidation. Paul acquired the physical and intellectual assets of Enertek, and along with additional personal funding rolled them into an investment in Industrial Solid Propulsion™ (ISP™), Inc., owned by Gary Rosenfield and Dan Meyer. Gary Rosenfield’s AeroTech proprietorship was converted to a corporation and simultaneously became a subsidiary of ISP. Up to that point AeroTech had only been involved in composite propellant motor production, but Paul’s significant financial spark allowed Gary and Dan to accelerate AeroTech’s growth and prominence in hobby rocketry, thanks to the acquisition of the Enertek assets and Paul’s other contributions.

Paul was a co-inventor on the Copperhead™ igniter, Fin-Lok™ plastic fin assembly, Labyrinth™ ejection system and RMS™ (Reloadable Motor System) reloadable motor patents. He also designed the Copperhead™ igniter clip, Interlock™ launch controller, Wart-Hog™ mid-power rocket kit, and wrote most of the original instructions for AeroTech’s rocket kits and ground support equipment. He became a major influence in the strategic direction and legal and regulatory matters of the business. Paul sold his ownership in ISP to the RocketAdventure partnership in 1999, but continued his involvement with the company as a trusted and experienced advisor and consultant over the years, literally until his last day.

Paul attended Brown University in RI and earned an MBA from the Wharton Business School in PA. He spent many years in the field of mergers and acquisitions, which included runs with General Dynamics and Fairchild Industries. He became an expert in aerospace industry business management, strategic planning and financial analysis. Even with the demands of his job, which included extensive travel both domestically and abroad, he raised 3 incredibly talented, worldly and successful children who have told us first hand that, “Dad was always there to support us in everything we did growing up, which continued into adulthood as our most valued advisor.” All three children have precious memories of their model rocketry experiences with Paul as a young father.

Paul had been battling a severe cancer for about two years and was surrounded by his loving family, longtime girlfriend and close friends when he passed. Gary Rosenfield, Karl Baumann and Dane Boles were honored to be with Paul on Thursday and Friday to thank him for all he had done and to say goodbye.

The management team and employees at AeroTech/Quest/RCS were blessed and honored to have enjoyed Paul’s years of hands-on support, counsel, guidance and advice. We will continue to move forward with Paul’s favorite saying in mind, “Steady as she goes!”.

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