E1000 Streamer Combat: Little Airplanes, Big Fun!


Written by Heath Bartel
As seen in the November 2021 issue of Model Aviation.
RC Combat

E1000 IS A STREAMER RC Combat class that features lightweight, affordable electric power systems and smaller, easy-to-build airplanes. Aircraft in this class are maneuverable, lightweight, relatively quiet, and also capable of flying in a surprising amount of wind.

All airplanes that fly in E1000 use an electric motor powered by a 1.1-watt hour (Wh) or smaller battery. Pilots can use different cell counts, capacity, and chemistry as long as the 1.1 Wh limit is not exceeded. The most commonly used battery is a 1,000 mAh 3S LiPo because 1 Ah x 11.1 volts = 1.1 Wh. This is reflected in the class name: E for Electric and 1000 for the commonly used LiPo battery capacity.

Pit stops to swap out the battery are not allowed because pilots are limited to one battery per round. Pilots who are flying electric airplanes aerobatically quickly learn that securing the flight battery to prevent shifting or ejection is critical. For Combat flying, where colliding with a competitor’s airplane is a possibility, this is doubly important. With this in mind, the battery in an E1000 airplane must be secured with a safety strap or have a battery hatch that is screwed on or bolted.

The E1000 class allows pilots to choose any airframe that they want to fly. This gives them the freedom to fly a sport airplane that they already have, build an airplane specifically for E1000, or even design their own custom aircraft.

The battery-size restriction limits the available power, resulting in a tradeoff between aircraft size and speed. An airplane with a short wingspan will tend to be faster but has a smaller surface area to catch streamers. An airplane with a large wingspan has more surface area to catch streamers but will tend to be slower. Most E1000 aircraft will have a wingspan between 26 and 40 inches. Airplanes that I have flown in this class include the Crash Test Hobby Scythe, Flite Test Arrow, and a variety of my own custom designs.

in the hunt for spot landing points
In the hunt for spot landing points.
banking hard with a battery securely
Banking hard with a battery securely held in place by a battery strap.

Because the airplanes are electric powered, flying E1000 is much quieter than any glow-powered Combat class. This is especially true when using tractor-style aircraft instead of pushers. Tractor setups can be so quiet that even with a number of airplanes in the air, you can hear the streamers snapping in the breeze and the crack of streamers being cut.

A common misconception is that the limited power that is available to an E1000 aircraft results in a slow airplane that is unable to fly or pull a streamer on a windy day. This is simply not the case. A well-designed E1000 model has the power to pull a full 30-foot streamer while flying in 20 mph wind. The limited power provides a good balance between the ability to fly in the wind and keeping the flying speed approachable for new pilots.

Although the airplanes are slightly slower than a Slow Survivable Combat (SSC)-class model in still air, the relatively small wingspan of E1000 airplanes allows them to penetrate the wind better than most SSC aircraft. Because of their light wing loading, E1000-class airplanes will also out-turn most SSC airplanes. This is despite the SSC airplane being powered with a much more powerful 355-watt electric motor or .15-size glow engine.

An E1000-class airplane has power similar to a 1/2A .049 glow engine. For comparison, a .25 glow engine has more than five times the power. Given this disparity in available power, it should not be a surprise that an E1000 airplane lacks the power to match the unlimited vertical climb and high speed of a .25 glow-powerequipped Open B airplane.

Excluding the battery, the power system components are a pilot’s choice. To be able to fly the 5-minute round, the average power usage will be approximately 133 watts, or 12 amps at 11.1 volts. A 20-amp ESC is recommended, but a larger, 30-amp ESC could be substituted.

The choice of the motor Kv is determined by the propeller size that a pilot wants to use. I have used 5- to 8-inch propellers with good results. Smaller propellers result in slightly higher maximum level and diving speeds, while larger ones produce slightly better vertical performance. An accompanying table of suggested motor Kv and propeller combinations is included as a reference.

suggested motor and propeller combinations for e100
a dalprop
(L-R): A DalProp 5 × 4.5 propeller, a Master Airscrew 6 × 4.5 propeller, and a Master Airscrew 8 × 4 propeller.

All of the typical Radio Control Combat Association (RCCA) Open-class rules for scoring and setbacks are used for E1000. The key highlights of those rules are that the airplanes fly with a 30-foot streamer for a 5-minute Combat round, with a 90-second preround countdown.

During the 90-second preround window, pilots start motors, wrangle streamers, and launch their airplanes.

All airplanes must be in the air beyond the combat engagement line, with a full streamer deployed before the preround timer expires, to earn time points. Pilots also earn points for flying the entire round, cutting streamers, surviving with some of their original streamer uncut, and landing in the spot-landing circle. The safety setbacks are measured from the flightline: 15 feet to the safety line and 35 feet to the combat engagement line, with a 40-foot setback for spectators.

E1000 streamer Combat does not feature extreme speeds, unlimited vertical climb, or large airplanes that are found in other RC Combat classes. Instead, it offers smaller, nimble, easy-to-transport airplanes with quiet electric power systems that are capable of flying in windy conditions. It is more approachable for novice Combat pilots, while presenting a challenge for experienced pilots.

Flying E1000 is simply big fun with little airplanes!

the e1000 group at the 2021 ama nats
The E1000 group at the 2021 AMA Nats (L-R): Bob Loescher, Tim Gillow, Mike LaPacz, Max Fagen, Heath Bartel, and David Smithgall.Photo by William Drumm III.






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" An accompanying table of suggested motor Kv and propeller combinations is included as a reference."?

FYI you say 1000mah * 11.1v is 1.1Wh, but it's actually 11.1 Wh (11 x 1 = 11)

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