2000, Neil started showing up at Minnesota Tripoli launches with a
BIG, orange rocket. "Something that I've been working
on...", he said.
He went on to explain that the Estes Interceptor had been a
favorite rocket when he was younger. After entering high power
a few years ago, he thought of making an upscaled version of it.
On May 12, 2001, Neil came to the first Minnesota Tripoli launch
of the year with his finished scratchbuilt creation.
"I'm going to launch it today. It's the only thing
that I brought to fly."
The glossy orange rocket now sported some gorgeous custom decals
proclaiming it to be the "United Earth Marine Corps - Interceptor."
Black paint highlighted the wingtip pods and rear of the airframe.
The rocket sports a central 54mm motor mount surrounded by three
38mm mounts. In addition, it has a 29mm motor mount in each
Here's some further info, straight from Neil:
"Her name is actually 'Miss October'. She is what I
call a 'memory upscale' of the old Estes Interceptor. So if
anyone still has one, I would REALLY like to see it to see how close
I got with this. Rocket was completely glassed nose to tail,
with a strength layer of heavier glass, then a finish layer of finer
glass cloth laid up all in one wetting. Fin pods are a
2.1" plastic nosecone (cut to allow fin to extend through), a
short piece of phenolic tubing, then a urethane tail cone.
Just below the pilots window is my older son's name, Nik with
4 'grays' that he racked up. And just below the right hand
window is the name of the weapons officer, Erik. He has 2
zapped 'grays' to his credit."
The plan for its first flight was to loft it on a cluster of
three J350 motors. For effects, a F22 motor was placed in each
After several hours of motor assembly and avionics prep, Neil and
Rick Weyrauch carried the monster rocket out to the big rail
launcher. Out at the rail, Neil received some assistance from
Dan Gates. After installing all of the igniters and making all
the connections, Neil made a special announcement over the PA and
began the countdown.
As the countdown progressed, the two wingtip F motors were
intentionally fired early. They produced a great smoke plume
from each pod, but intentionally didn't produce enough lift to move
the rocket. After letting the F's fire for a second or so, the
button was pushed for the J-cluster.
The J's came to life and the rocket leapt off the pad on a pillar
of fire and smoke. Flying a nearly-vertical trajectory, it
soon reached apogee where a Transolve altimeter split the rocket
into two halves. Each half floated gently down under a big
A great rocket; an incredible flight! Nice job, Neil!
After the flight, it was found that only two of the three J350's
had ignited. Also, the two F effects motors didn't light at
exactly the same time - producing the asymmetric smoke trail seen in
Rocket Name: "Miss October"
Builder / Flyer: Neil Kindschy
Diameter: 6 inches
Length: 9 feet, 2 inches
Weight: 31 pounds (loaded)
Components from Public Missiles Ltd.
Graphics by Valley Lettering, North St. Paul, MN
Electronics: 2 Transolve P6 altimeters
Recovery: 2 Rocketman R12 Pro-experimental parachutes
Load-Out: 3 J350's (only 2 fired), 2 F22's; ignition was by
Altitude: 1800 ft reported by P6 #1, 1700 ft reported by P6