(03/21/98) I originally purchased
an Estes' Mongoose Kit because I wanted to use it for an experiment, however,
when my 8 year old nephew came to visit it seemed like a good kit to build
together. So we built it.
The instructions have
lots of illustrations, however, that didn't help us fully understand how to
assemble the lower stage's . I think the problem starts in the first
step when sliding the green adapter onto the motor mount tube. It tells
you to slide it up to the 14mm mark, however, it is a bit confusing as to
whether the front of the ring or the rear of the ring should be at 14mm. In the
second step, you are told to apply glue and slide the motor mount "all
the way in" the booster fin unit. The pictures show it partially out.
Well, we got ours "all the way in" and flush with a bit of
sanding. Of coarse, when finished the booster did not attach to the second
stage flush. The remaining instructions and pictures posed no issues.
As a side note, a young friend of mine had built the
Mongoose on his own and had it at our last launch. I noticed that his rear tube
was sticking out some and when attached to the second stage, it was flush.
At assembly the quality of the kit seemed fair. Plastic
fin units. Plastic fin units. Standard motor mounts assembles. Two-piece
plastic . Streamer recovery system. Streamer recovery system. The kit
doesn't require any painting with yellow body tubes and pinkish nose cone and
fin units. It also came with color scheme matching self- decals.
Flying the Mongoose demonstrated strengths and weaknesses
of the kit.
The weakness of the kit was seen in the
sturdiness of the body tubes and the booster motor mount's susceptibility to
burning away. With both my young friend's and our rocket, the booster was
damaged on first flight. The damage was a slightly crushed .
After 2 flights, the booster motor mount was completely
burned away on our model. I think this is due to the method of motor retention
that the Mongoose uses. On the booster, the is mounted at the rear
of the motor mount. On the second stage the engine block is mounted at the top
of the motor mount like most kits. The two motors are taped together and slid
into the second stage until they rest on the engine block. The booster is then
slid onto the motor until is rests against it's engine block. This leaves the
booster motor recessed approximately 3/8" inch. This causes two problems.
First, it is a bit difficult to load the and second, the rear engine
As mentioned though, flying the Mongoose also
demonstrated a strength. This kit has nice flights. This kit has nice flights.
With a B6-0 booster you get to see separation and watch flawless in-air
ignition of the second stage. Two successful flights where impressive. My young
friend's single flight faired differently but nonetheless impressive. With
aC6 booster we barely saw the separation and with a C6
in the second stage we strained to see ejection. After ejection, we watched the
wind carry the Mongoose a long distance and it was lost in trees beyond the
edge of the field.
Estes calls the Mongoose a "perfect first time
two-stage rocket". I would question "first time" due to the
instructions. Also, I don't think anyone could keep this rocket flying for very
long due to the weak body tubes and rear engine mount. The only redeeming
factor is that we enjoyed several impressive flights, however, I don't think
that outweighs the other issues.
(Contributed - by David Sindel - 01/15/09)
This is a fairly simple 2-stage, 18mm rocket from Estes. I have slightly modified mine with shortening and a modified
booster motor mount to repair damage.
The parts list:
- 18" of BT-50; mine only has 10" left.
- 1-15/16" of BT-50 for booster
- 2 magenta plastic fin units
- PNC-50YR: 2-part magenta nose cone
- 2 blue 18mm engine mount tubes of rather poor quality
- 2 green 18mm-24mm centering rings
- 2 green 18mm engine blocks
- 1 long green 18mm-24mm adapter ring
- 1 yellow 24mm reinforcement ring
- 1/8" x 18"
- 1.2" x 30" orange
- Decal sheet
I barely remember anything about construction of the original. Be very careful to align
the launch lug halves perfectly. I would suggest going with a single, longer lug. Mine currently uses the scavenged
plastic lug assembly from a Space Bus and that works well.
I took about 8" off of the body tube after it crimped twice--right above the fin unit and about
6" above it--and glued the fin unit on again. Five inches of the scavenged tube now resides in the pop-pod of my
new ; the rest was crumpled and trashed. The Mongoose is still perfectly stable and flyable even when
The other major modification is that I no longer have the lower motor mount tube. It was crushed the first
time I tried to put a motor in it. All of the tubes in the kit are too thin and poor quality. I simply removed the tube
and glued the lower engine block into the bottom . I now simply wrap the booster motor with a bit of
masking tape and everything works great.
I suggest replacing the 2 crappy motor mount tubes with better, stronger BT-20 pieces. Be prepared to either
shorten the body tube or repair it with tube couplers or .
Two and a half points for building alone because the rocket is too flimsy for its own good, but the fin units
make a lot up.
There's no painting to be done. The decals are sticker type--much easier for fumblefingers like me--and look halfway
nice. The yellow and magenta coloring looks nice. My only complaints are the plain launch lug that doesn't fit in the
color scheme and that the on the body tube are visible. Picky, picky.
Four and a half points for finishing alone.
Construction Rating: 3 ½ out of 5
My first "flight" was on an A8-3 in 2004. The launch lugs weren't aligned enough and it stuck on the pad.
That was my mistake.
The next flight was sometime last year on a B6-4. It was a perfect flight with a loud, straight boost to about
300 feet. Although the streamer deployed fine, the body tube crimped on impact, prompting me to make the changes.
The next flight was 2-stage on a B6-0/B6-6 combo. It was straight and fast, but staging was low enough to be
seen. The sustainer disappeared into the darkening sky, only to reappear under its streamer 30 seconds later. Both of
my modifications worked fine.
Its latest flight was on an A8-3. The flight was low, about 120 feet, but stable. The streamer didn't deploy, but
it landed with no damage in a puddle of water. After drying, there was no damage, weakening, or warping.
However, either from deployment or more likely my handling, the loop broke off the nose cone. I simply drilled a
small hole on the end of the nose cone shoulder, inserted a small screw, and glued it in with . The shock cord ties
firmly to the screw head.
Estes recommends the A8-3, B4-4, B6-4, and C6-5 for single stage flights and C6-0s staging to B6-6s and C6-7s. I
find that the B6-0 is a good booster for smaller fields (the A8-0 would be even better), and the rare A8-5s a good
The shock cord is 1/8" x 18" elastic, barely adequate. A 24" or 36" piece of 3/16" elastic
would have been better.
The 1" x 30" streamer is too long and it doesn't flap. A 2" x 20" streamer would be better.
For A and B single-stage flights, a 12" would be fine, but the streamer is needed for C and 2-stage
flights because it is fairly light and would drift away quickly, especially from 1600 feet on a C6-0/C6-7 combo.
The main complaint I have though, is that the booster is marginally stable after separation and the front tends
to crumple a bit. The reinforcement ring, however, excellently prevents it from crumpling too much.
Flight Rating: 4 out of 5
Estes calls the Mongoose an excellent first 2-stage rocket. I say the Loadstar, Solar Flare, or one of Quest's
2-stagers would be a bit better. This was the first 2-stagers I built and the second I flew, so it's not too off the
The Mongoose is a great flier for large and small fields. Except for the too-stable booster, it flies
excellently. The main problem is that the tubes, especially the engine mount tubes are substandard. The plastic fin
units are excellent and prevent beginners from having to mess with 8 fins, and the pre-finished look is excellent.
Overall Rating: 3 ½ out of 5
(Contributed - by John Venable - 09/13/09)
This is a entry level 2-stage rocket with parachute recovery.
The kit is a basic 2-stage consisting of upper and lower body tubes,nose cone, molded plastic fins, and a basic
Construction was easy, but once again I had to tweak it! I heard that the upper and lower tubes around the motor
mounts was weak so instead of centering rings, I filled the upper and lower tubes with a solid piece of tubing. I also
used epoxy to construct this rocket. I used 1/8" Kevlar
shock cord and an 8" nylon X-chute. No cons anymore!
It was super easy to paint. After motor mounts were glued in I primed all parts with BIN . I then applied 3
coats Rustoleum metallic copper to body tubes followed by 2 coats high gloss black to fins. No cons here.
Construction Rating: 4 ½ out of 5
The 2 motors were taped together and inserted into body tube. I used 2 pieces of 1"
cloth instead of . All 3 flights I used a C6-0 and a C6-7. The first flight weathercocked at 300' and went
horizontal. The next 2 flights were perfect at about 1000'. No cons after a few minor alignment issues.
shock cord with 1" dual Nomex
shields and an 8"Top Flite X-form chute followed by a solid lower stage made for lots of fun.
Flight Rating: 5 out of 5
If you follow other peoples suggestions on this site before you build this or any other rocket there will be nothing
Overall Rating: 5 out of 5
(Contributed - by Alan Boldt & Duane Boldt - 07/14/10)
This review is for the 2010 EMRR Challenge "Two on One" review.
Duane Boldt and Alan Boldt contributed to this review.
This 26.5" 2-stage rocket is purple and yellow with cool
decals. It is easy to build and there are not many parts. The Mongoose has plastic, one-piece fin units on both the
booster and sustainer.
- 1 - 18" Purple body tube
- 1 - 2" Purple booster body tube
- 1 - Yellow nose cone (50YR)
- 1 - Nose cone adapter
- 2 - Plastic fin units
- 3 - Green adapter rings
- 2 - Gray engine block rings
- 1 - 1/8" x 24" elastic shock cord
- 2 - 2.75" blue engine mount tubes
- 1 - Yellow reinforcement ring
- 1 - 1/8" launch lug
- 1 - 12" plastic parachute
- 1 - Green adapter ring
- 1 - Sheet of self-stick decals
- 1 - Folded sheet of instructions
PROS: This kit makes a nice fast kit to build with school
classrooms or school rocketry clubs. It is long enough to satisfy the 24"+ requireement for the Cadet
Mercury Level and also to fly the multi-stage flight in the later Cadet level. It was easy for us to build completely
with thick CA glue.
CONS: The only two cons are that the body tubes are not very strong
and can be crushed if you are not careful. Also, if you break any of the plastic fin sets, they are difficult to
repair. Most glues, even plastic cements, don't work well on them.
The instuctions are typical Estes instructions and are easy to
follow. We were building ours with a group of students and used thick CA glue from JonRocket.com to speed things up.
Since we used the CA, we were having to wait for the glue to dry more than 10-15 seconds before moving on to the next
1. The booster is assembled with the short purple body tube, and engine tube, engine block ring and an adapter
2. The upper stage involved a similar process with the longer purple body tube and similar parts.
** One thing you need to be careful of is glueing the engline block ring in the correct position in the booster
and sustainer. It goes to the behind where the motor will be in the booster and forward of the motor space in the
sustainer. We had to "undo" one or two of the engine block rings. Just follow the instructions and you will
3. We marked the line for the launch lugs before installing the sustainer motor mount/fin assembly. Then glued in
the motor assembly into the sustainer body tube.
4. We marked for the launch lug possitions along the line drawn in step 3 and then scraped just a little paint off
the tube at the marks. We then glued on the launch lugs.
5. We also used CA to glue the nose cone parts together,
6. We actually used a hot glue gun for the attaching the "3-fold" shock cord mounts inside the body
tube. This saves some mess and works well as long as you glue it good and while the glue is still hot and liquid. (We
have only ever had one come apart and that is when a rocket a much too short and the nose cone came off while it
was still traveling very fast.)
7. The parachute was tied to the nose cone mattachment point along with the loose end of the shock cord.
There you go. A very fast build in one short session even with a group of kids. The rocket performs well and as
long as you do not crush the tubes, as Alan mentioned, the rocket wil make many successful flights.
There really isn't any finishing other than applying
the decals. they are typical self-adhesive decals. The kids like them a lot and had fun putting them on. Not quite as
nice as waterslide decals, but easy to apply.
Construction Rating: 4 out of 5
We mostly flew B6-4 motors for single stage
flights and B6-0 / B6-6 combos for two stage flights. The rocket performed great. The field we were lauching at is
great for up to B motors. C's and multi-stage sometimes get devoured by the rocket eating trees or are carried by wind
to a make some other lucky kid happy. Overall great performance on our flights.
PROS: Very easy to assemble parachute. No damage if
packed correctly. Lands not to far from pad in low wind conditions.
CONS: The body tubes were kind of flimsy and sometimes were crumpled on landing, if parachute didn't deploy fully.
One student, launching with us, did loose their sustainer on a multi-stage flight with too much wind.
Flight Rating: 5 out of 5
PROS: The Mongoose is a simple to build kit
that works good for classroom building. It is easy enough that it can be built quick and with little hassle when
working with larger numbers of kids. It also works for several of the NARTREK Cadet required flights including Level 1
build with plastic fins, 24"+, and Multi-Staged.
CONS: The tubes are a little flimsy and the paper can sometimes peel. Treat tube ends with thin CA before
building to keep them from unraveling.
Overall Rating: 4 out of 5
The Mongoose is a simple rocket to build and flies