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Estes - 220 Swift {Kit} (810) [2003-]

Diameter:0.5400 inches
Length:4.5000 inches
Skill Level:1
Construction Rating:
Flight Rating:
Overall Rating:

Contributed by


For the old-timers, the 220 Swift is simply a Mosquito in an updated body with sticker graphics.  The Swift is another of the "fire and forget" mini engine birds.  I can't imagine that the recovery rate on these is anywhere close to 30%.


  • BT-5 main body tube
  • PNC-5 nose cone
  • 1/16" fin stock
  • launch lug
  • decal sheet


Construction was the soul of simplicity.  Three fins are cut out of the supplied balsa strips and attached with wood glue.  The launch lug is attached and the nose cone glued in place at the top of the body tube.  That's it.  You're flightworthy.


Finishing can be as quick and easy or as complicated as you wish.  I went the complicated route for both of mine since there wasn't that much surface to sand and I wanted a nice looking death portrait.  After attaching the fins and before attaching the nose cone and launch lug I sprayed the rocket body with primer, sanded, then sprayed again.  This was followed by a smear of thinned Elmer's Fill & Finish (or whatever they're calling it this flying season,) which was allowed to dry, then sanded off.  I determined that it looked good enough and attached the launch lug, then re-primed.  The body was sprayed with a gloss yellow that I've had knocking around my shop without a label for several years now.  (It may be Valspar Bumblebee Gloss, but I can't swear to that at this point.)  The nose cone was primed and sprayed with Valspar Gloss Black, something I am sure of.  Once dry, it was glued in place with a smear of epoxy to hopefully withstand the ejection charge, and, in the case of the second Swift, the sticker decals were applied.

Construction Score: 5


So far I'm 0fer when it comes to flying the Estes 220 Swift, so I'm calling this the CON section.  It may be a great little rocket, but having lost both of the two I've built I can't make that determination.  First flight was on a 1/4A3-2T motor and was a series of kindas, as in kinda saw the liftoff, kinda saw the ejection, kinda thought it fired off in the direction of the trees at the top of the hill at B6-4 Field, and kinda heard it falling through the branches.  And despite the fact that it was painted a kinda bright yellow, I never saw it again.  I was kinda bummed because I flew it before I had a chance to put the stickers on.

For the second flight, I learned my lesson.  This time I set the pad closer to the center of the field behind second base.  In theory this would keep the Swift from coming down near the trees in the outfield and keep the bright yellow rocket on the field of green/brown where I would stand more of a chance of recovering it.  Once again I chose the 1/4A3-2T, because it was the smallest available motor, and not likely to overfly the field.

Yeah, right.

The previous rocket I'd flown that day was the Custom Sunracer, a straight flight that stayed within view, (but impacted the infield and rekitted itself.)  I was hoping for something of the same flight profile, but without the on-field mess.  The Swift left as quickly as expected, but I actually caught it in frame for both an ignition and liftoff shot.  Unfortunately I could see that it was kinking to the right as it left the pad, but that would put it out toward deep left field where there was plenty of recovery room.  I heard the ejection charge and waited silently, listening for it to make any sound that would give me a direction to look in.  Not even the birds chirped.  Nor crickets.  I suspended flight operations for twenty minutes to walk the entire outfield, the school parking lot, AND the parking lots across the street.  I checked the former 1/2A6-2 Field, looking for anything resembling a yellow spot.  Not a thing.  Disappeared from this earth, just like the other one. 


Since I've never recovered one, I'll suspend judgement on this facet of the Swift's performance.  On second thought, no, I won't.  I'm not a fan of the whole Fire & Forget thing.

Flight Rating: 1


I guess a rocket like this might appeal to someone with a big field and lots of eyes, but my past history at B6-4 Field has pretty much been a one man show.  I'll stick to something I can see.

Overall Rating: 2

Flight Log

DateRocket NameMotor(s)AltitudeNotes
2003-03-17Donald Besaw's Estes 220 Swift1/4A3-3- Nice flight but landed in some tall grass and was not recovered. Lost. I'll probably get another.
2004-04-01Saunassa's Estes 220 Swift1/2A3-4- another tumble recovery lost - next time have more people for tracking
2004-05-11Brian Riendeau's Estes 220 Swift1/2A3-4- Rocket took off the pad extremely fast! Lost view of the rocket until ejection, then we lost it ...
2004-06-16Paul Gray's Estes 220 Swift1/2A3-2- WOW. Get up and go. Did not think i would get it back but after looking for 15mins found it stuck ...
2004-10-31Michael Bentley's Estes 220 Swift1/2A3-4- First flight and rocket perform well. Saw engine ejection charge. Landed about 10ft from launch.
2004-11-28Michael Bentley's Estes 220 SwiftA3-4- Perfect flight, hard to find
2005-01-01Kurt Tetrault's Estes 220 SwiftA3-4- 2nd launch. Could not see. Lost. I will pick up a couple of these for next launch !!! Fun rocket ...
2005-01-01Kurt Tetrault's Estes 220 SwiftA3-4- This lil' guy is a kick in the pants. Flew off the launch pad. Lawn darted about 30-40 feet from ...
2005-05-07Corey Maher's Estes 220 SwiftA10-3- Screamed off the pad. Lost sight of rocket after ejection. Found rocket after a 30 minute search ...
2005-05-08Chase Hrncir's Estes 220 Swift1/4A3-3- First launch ever at Sportflyers Estates, Brookshire, TX. Great boost, but failed to tumble, as ...
2005-09-05Michael Bentley's Estes 220 SwiftA10-3- Unexpected altitude. Hard to find in ground. Landed like lawn dart.
2006-12-23Bill Poster's Estes 220 Swift1/2A3-3-
2007-01-06Rick Lindsey's Estes 220 Swift1/2A3-2- My 3 year old son wanted a bitty rocket, so I built this for him.It took off, tilted over about 30 ...
2007-07-01Shaun Bella's Estes 220 Swift1/2A3-4- Very fast takeoff. Very loud ejection 2 smoke trails off in different directions. Found about a ...
2007-07-15John Lee's Estes 220 Swift1/4A3-3- First Launch on my return to rocketry. I warned my stepson (based on experience years before) that ...
2008-08-13Mark Grisco's Estes 220 Swift1/2A3-4- GONE!!!!!!
2010-02-21 Matt Shoemaker's Estes 220 SwiftA3-4- Slight weathercocking but very stable, and quickly flew out of sight. Saw the puff of smoke as the ...
2010-07-06Dean Booth's Estes 220 Swift - LOST (1)1/4A3-3- At apogee, the smoking motor casing flew off in one direction and the rocket simply vanished. I ...
2010-07-13Dean Booth's Estes 220 Swift - LOST (1)1/4A3-3- Vanished again at apogee. I searched the ground in vain. I'll convert my next one to MMX.
2011-08-05 Chris J Taylor's 220 SwiftA10-3T- Incredible velocity!!! Once it fired it was out of sight after smoke trail quit. Found it about 40 ...
2011-10-05Dean Booth's Estes 220 Swift - motor mount mod (2)Estes 1/4A3-3T- Flawless operation on this maiden flight. I modified the Swift for rear ejection to aid in ...
2011-10-23 Dean Booth's Estes 220 Swift - motor mount mod (2)Estes 1/4A3-3T- Another flawless flight using the rear-ejection mod. Nice tracking smoke before apogee, recovered ...
2012-02-01Dean Booth's Estes 220 Swift - motor mount mod (2)Estes 1/4A3-3T- I loaded up a teflon tape streamer and shortened 1/4A motor. Heard a loud pop at ejection. Rear ...
2012-03-14Dean Booth's Estes 220 Swift - motor mount mod (2)Estes 1/4A3-3T- The teflon streamer stripped off during descent, resulting in a quick trip down. I found the Swift ...
2012-09-08Glen Smith's 220 Swift1/4A3-3T- Nver saw it as usual. Saw engine ejection. Someone finally found in the middle of the field
2013-02-28Jaroslav Racek's Estes 220 Swift1/4A3-3T-
2014-08-17 Bill Eichelberger's Estes - 220 Swift - LOST1/4A3-2150 feet Saw the liftoff. Well, sorta. Kinda saw where it was when the ejection charge fired. Thought it ...
2015-06-14Aaron J. Grier's Gigi Swift1/4A3-3T300 feet maiden flight after two scrubbed missions due to toddler-initiated fin breakage.
2015-06-14Aaron J. Grier's Gigi Swift1/4A3-3T300 feet almost didn't recover it. landed on bank overlooking the field. a fluorescent paint job would be a ...
2015-06-14Aaron J. Grier's Gigi Swift1/4A3-3T300 feet lawn-darted 30ft away from pad. this little rocket is near-impossible to track after the ejection ...
2015-10-25 Bill Eichelberger's Estes - 220 Swift (LOST AGAIN)1/4A3-3150 feet Not quite the straight flight that the Sunracer was, but still ejected over the field. I heard ...
2016-10-09Keith Ellis's Estes 220 SwiftA- First and only flight! Rocket shot up, arcing into the wind, never to be seen again.
2017-09-17Matt McLaughlin's 220 Swift-


Hans "Chris" Michielssen (January 21, 2017)

I'd like to start a petition to rename this one the "220 Kinda".

I also fly alone on occasion and am amazed I've found my Mosquito after four flights. It's only a matter of time . . . 

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