Streamer Combat

The basic requirements to fly Streamer Combat include an EXPENDABLE aircraft powered with a 3 cell lipo battery or smaller (should be able to last for a 5 minute combat round), and a 1″ or wider streamer attached to the aircraft that is 30-feet long, with a thread “leader” attachment at least 5-feet to 10-feet long.

Combat flying takes some getting used to but it is really fun! It can also be a bit confusing to fly your plane and look for other streamers to cut, and in the process not get confused and think you are flying someone else’s plane – which is why different colored streamers are helpful.

Here’s the pilot briefing and some combat from our June 2019 session. 

Here are some important links to supplies:

Presco Biodegradable Roll Flagging Tape Streamer Material for wet mornings at the field:

Any old Crepe Paper Streamer for dry days – cuts better and is cheaper! Just cut the roll in half to make it narrower to reduce drag.

Example Fish Swivel

Example Leader Thread

Plane Specs and Safety Rules

We follow the AMA 2017-2018 Radio Control Combat, Open RC Combat Event 755 safety rules with the following additional safety restrictions at each field:

NVRC Combat Aircraft Special Requirements – Lorton Burnett Field

    • Class A size restriction (Max 3 pounds electric)
    • Battery size max limit 3 cell
    • Tractor style props OK
    • More than 4 planes aloft at discretion of Safety Officer & Contest Director

NVRC Combat Aircraft Special Requirements – Poplar Ford Field

    • Electric Only – Battery size limit 3 cell
    • Pusher Props or Prop-In-Slot Only- No Tractor style!
    • More than 4 planes aloft at discretion of Safety Officer & Contest Director

Many of the most popular combat planes we fly are Flite Test foam board designs.

Flite Test Scout: Preferred choice of many NVRC Streamer vets

Flite Test Mini Arrow:

Other pusher planes that work particularly well at Poplar Ford (and Lorton) for this include;

 Other notes:

1) The streamer material we are using works great, even in rain and muddy ground. It is a bit pricy compared to crepe paper, but worth it for sure for wet days.

2) The required thread “leader” from the plane to the streamer is important, as it extends the streamer, and allows the plan to maneuver with less drag, and is AMA required.

3) Regular scotch tape can be used to repair streamers and even re-attach cut streamer parts to what streamer is left still attached to the plane.

4) Aircraft that are slower can be more fun to combat with – rather than the simple “zoom and boom” technique, it can be really enjoyable to partake in slower, scale-like combat and plan your attack runs. 

5) Lorton-Burnett Field is a great place for these combat events – the wide open location, the ability to park cars/trucks near the event line, and the ability to find anything that crashes really makes for a super combat location.

6) Small fishing swivels can be attached to the back of an aircraft to eliminate or at least partially eliminate the streamer getting kinked or tangled at launch or in flight. We have been experimenting with putting these in-line with the leader near the attachment place on the aircraft. See link above for the type of swivel we’re talking about.

7) Different color streamers are VERY USEFUL. The color allows you to find YOUR plane while in the swarm of planes, and also allows an easy method for identifying who cut who’s streamer (it is surprising how many times the cutting plane becomes entangled in the target plane’s streamer).

8) Vertical maneuvers matter – interestingly, new pilots tended to end up pulling tight horizontal circles in order to evade or attack, while the more experienced folks would pull both horizontal and vertical maneuvers, pouncing down on the circle-flyers (of course, when some of us, try this it ends up in diving crashes or near misses!)

9) Brightly Colored Thread (we switched to Red) is helpful for your “Leader” material so it can be seen on the ground (and thus has less of a chance to get under or around someone’s shoe or motor!).

10) Between each round, contestants are able to conduct minor repairs and fix streamers. In general there are 15 minute breaks between 5 minute rounds. In these breaks, everyone gets a chance to rest, eat/drink, talk smack, and in some cases get a “backup” plane ready due to primary aircraft failure or destruction!

Lobster Combat!!

This is a great variation that Scott picked up during a visit to NEAT last summer. In this combat, a tow plane pulls a 50′ long streamer around the field in a simple circuit, and everyone else tries to cut the biggest piece of streamer they can! This is a whole lot of fun with less stress than the “fur ball” style of everyone towing a streamer combat. I even felt OK flying a couple rounds with my balsa biplane and took most of the streamer to the ground on a good cut!

lobster streamer combat cut

Click Here for upcoming Streamer Combat Skirmish Dates

Click Here for the next Streamer Combat Event

Here’s a great video from our 2022 Lobster Combat session at our Club Open House

This was a very exciting combat session! You will notice there are way more aircraft flying than the normal 4 allowed – as a special event, combat sessions allow for many aircraft flying. Early in the video there is an aerial collision with both plans heading to the ground (followed by their parts fluttering behind them), several planes nose diving in as pilots lose orientation/control (this is an expected risk during combat sessions, and why it is so important to keep the flying out past the runway over the tall grass), and towards the end we even see the streamer get cut!