Estes - Hi-Flier {Kit} (2178) [2003-]

Contributed by Lance Alligood

Construction Rating: starstarstarstarstar_border
Flight Rating: starstarstar_borderstar_borderstar_border
Overall Rating: starstarstar_borderstar_borderstar_border
Diameter: 0.74 inches
Length: 12.00 inches
Manufacturer: Estes
Skill Level: 1
Style: Sport

Estes Hi-FlierBrief:
Minimum diameter, featherweight rocket that can soar well out o' sight (1600+ ft accordin' t' Estes). Streamer recovery. Blimey! Blimey! Ahoy! Blimey! Blimey! Blimey! Very similar t' Estes Sizzler & Estes Star Dart.

Parts list:

  • Body tube (which doubles as motor mount)
  • Metal motor retention clip
  • Spacer tube
  • Mylar sleeve
  • Paper thrust ring
  • Die-cut balsa fins
  • Launch lug
  • Shock cord
  • Nose cone with insert
  • Streamer
  • Decal

Typical easy-to-follow Estes directions. Ya scallywag! Start with gluin' t' thrust rin' then motor mount clip held by t' Mylar ring. Next comes t' fins (with notches t' allow for t' Mylar ring). Nose cone needs plastic cement t' join t' 2 pieces. Ahoy! Lastly t' shock cord is attached t' t' BT with t' usual paper mount & tied t' NC. Arrr! Ya scallywag! Streamer is tied t' t' shock cord.


  • Assembly goes smartly since thar are few parts.


  • Ugly gap in t' middle o' t' fins t' allow for t' Mylar ring. Arrr! (Need t' use a putty-esque solution t' eliminate these holes.)
  • Clean lines o' design are marred by t' external motor retention system.
  • T' win' thickness is well...not very thick. If nay attached well, arrr, matey, I would expect bad things if one came off in flight.
  • Assumin' I'd had a safe flight, ya bilge rat, I bet I would have found that t' shock cord is too short.

A streamer be t' proper recovery method for this small, ultralightweight design. Ya scallywag! A common issue with t' Hi-Flier/Star Dart/Sizzler is that BT damage can occur with t' stock shock cord. Blimey! Replace it with longer elastic.


  • Achievin' a finish similar t' t' packagin' is relatively easy, shiver me timbers, even for a beginner, as long as you use patience with t' colors...(this be one o' me first rockets & I tried t' rush it.)


  • None

Construction Rating: 4 out o' 5

This was me first rocket built & launched after a near-20 year absence from model rocketry. Arrr! Since I had pretty much ruined t' rocket with a horrid paint job (my own fault), me bucko, me bucko, I had already considered this rocket a loss. Avast, me proud beauty! Aye aye! I wasn't disappointed...(which isn't a good thing.) It be a windy day out & t' only engines I had were B6-4s. Avast! Aye aye! There was just enough room for t' engine, me hearties, matey, a couple pieces o' waddin' & t' streamer.

It screamed off t' launch pad ~200 feet & then suddenly appeared t' turn horizontal. Avast, me proud beauty! Begad! Blimey! It vanished from sight & was nay recovered. Ya scallywag! (I have since assembled an Estes Star Dart which I have successfully flown twice.) I'm sure me Hi-Flier's flight was an anomally & should perform similar t' t' Star Dart.

I also learned with me Star Dart that an A8-3 is probably t' ideal engine for a rocket this small, ya bilge rat, that a B6-4 should only be used if you have plenty o' field & little if any wind, me bucko, arrr, & that a C6-5 should only be used when you no longer want t' rocket in your fleet!


  • Very excitin' & fast launches for a rocket with an A or B class engine.


  • I be unable t' recover mine--I'm goin' t' guess that a win' came loose t' cause t' rapid change in trajectory. Arrr! I be also flyin' it on a windy day (gusts over 10mph) & with a big engine (B6-4) considerin' t' rocket's overall weight.
  • Even with a streamer, me hearties, me bucko, this rocket is so light that you still can expect t' have t' chase it on mildly windy days.

Flight Rating: 2 out o' 5

There are plenty o' ways that these minimal design rockets can be damaged/lost/destroyed. Thankfully it takes little loot & time t' get this high flier--I mean Hi-Flier, ready for action. Even small engines can send it out o' sight. Arrr! I would consider t' Hi-Flier t' be in t' "Gee, ya bilge rat, me hearties, it be fun while it lasted" category.

Even if you are careful with motor selection & weather conditions, I still wouldn't expect many successful flights out o' t' Hi-Flier. Avast, me proud beauty! T' fins are frighteningly thin balsa, me bucko, t' motor mount clip is on t' outside o' t' BT, & t' shock cord in t' package is too short...all o' which have a couple o' reasons each that can lead t' failure.

Overall Rating: 2 out o' 5



(June 4, 2003)
I agree with the review somewhat. The reviewer took too many points off, in my opinion. However, it is far from perfect. It is quite fragile, and light. This is a good performance rocket. I launched it with an A3-4 at an angle and the rocket took off very fast. Tips: Fill the balsa with sanding sealer/CA to strength them. Omit the motor hook and ring to make the rocket look better. (seal the gap where the fin is perforated for the ring with sanding sealer) Replace the shock cord with a longer piece, or mount a piece of Kevlar® to the motor block.
P.D. (June 30, 2003)
This lightweight rocket has pros and cons. On the plus side, its fun to watch this thing go!! It rips with a C6-3, or even any B motor, out of sight in a second - add lots of talc/carpenter's chalk to help you spot it (its small size makes it hard to track)! Another plus is its price. This is good, because on the down side, you will lose this one. The reviewer was exactly right: This one is fun while it lasts. This lightweight gets blown far off course during recovery - even with a streamer. Use a LARGE field (i.e. a farm or something HUGE), or use an A motor, or be sure there's no wind up there. Don't use a C motor unless you just want to see how high it goes! Wave bye bye to the rocket, honey! Don't let your kid build this unless they can deal with this. Oh, overpowering this little one with B or C motors will also highlight any flaws in fin placement. It's skittish. Pay attention to fin alignment - though with its lack of weight, this doesn't matter much - it will get pushed around anyway. All in all, a good $4 rocket, but not a keeper!
C.P.M. (March 2, 2006)
A question came up about which motor to use with this model over on YORF. As a test, I measured my assembled kit and transferred the numbers into RocSim V8. What I came up with was interesting, and I have since had some confirmation from another builder with RS8. This model has less than marginal stability with anything over an A8-5. In a nutshell, it's tail-heavy. Using Barrowman calculations, I found a margin of 0.45 with the A8, and about 0.25 with the B6. The RocSim calculations were a bit nicer, with about 1.1 for the A8, but still less than 1 for the B6. The C6 was horrid either way... Reading some of the flight reports here on RMRR about horizontal flights on calm days tends to confirm this opinion. It should also be noted that a 3-sec delay on the A8, a 4-sec delay on the B6, and the 5-sec delay on the C6, caused the deployment to occur at substantially dangerous velocities. Go with the longest delay for each class of motor. The addition of ballast in the nose cone can correct this problem without introducing a massive penalty in altitude. Trial-and-error found that 3/16th of an ounce right at the tip of the nose cone brings the stability to 1.19 for the C6. For those who are still considering this model, keep this in mind.
B.G. (June 6, 2007)
This was my 2nd rocket. Took my time and made it really nice, just like the package. Flew twice on A8's and had great flights in a smallish field across the street from my house. 3rd flight on a B6 and never saw it again. It went straight up and out of sight. The flights did not seem unstable but like a few other people said, this rocket can get high enough to do a lot of drifting or just plain get out of sight. I do think that with some simple mods to the recovery system this could be a nice A engine rocket. A little red Permatex in the plastic nose cone and a small chute, may give it some B or C engine capability. For a sub $10 kit maybe I'll try another.
D.W.M. (June 14, 2007)
At our most recent club launch last Sunday (June 10, 2007) one of our club member attempted to launch his Hi-Flier on a C6 engine. Model went unstable as soon as it left the launch rod, zigzagged through the air and smashed into the ground at high speeds, totally destroying the model. My suggestion is to make the Hi-Flier main body tube longer to improve the stability.
Norm Kruse (July 15, 2011)

I was able to launch the Hi-Flier on four flights. The first flight was on an A8-3 and the second on a B6-4 with good results. It was flow in low wind and a large field so recovery was possible. On the thrid flight, it was fitted with a C6-5. I was a novice at the time and was surprised that it did the corkscrew - no damage or injuries resulted. It was what prompted me to read about rocket flight dynamics and stabilty. Realizing that the CG was too low because of the heavier 'C' motor, I added some fishing weights to the nose cone lug to bring the CG up - all trial and error, no RocSim, no measuring the weight. Put in another C6-5...3-2-1 and it was gone to the moon Alice. Saw it come down, far away in some tall grass...never found it. I would build this kit again, it is a crowd pleaser.

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