If you are here reading this article, congratulations on joining the club. We all have got our drone stuck in a tree at least once. It happens to all drone enthusiasts and is not a big deal (at least better than losing your drone) if you know how to get a drone out of a tree without damaging it.
Today we are going to discuss exactly that. Here a few methods you can use to get your drone out of a tree:
- You can fly it away if it is not stuck very bad
- Climb the tree if possible (and with extreme caution)
- Use a ladder if it is not stuck very high
- Use a long pole to untangle it
- Use a sligshot with the help of a fishing wire and some weight
- Rent out a hydraulic lift truck
- Lastly, call the fire department and seek their kind help
Let’s discuss these methods in detail and see how to go about each practically and safely.
How To Get A Drone Out Of A Tree
Fly your own way to
If the drone is still in good condition and has enough battery, you can fly it out. If you try this method, be careful. You might get your drone more tangled up or break something by flying into the trees. This method of flying away can be very useful if your drone is perched on top or near something.
If possible, climb the tree
Climbing a tree is always a good option if it is easy to climb or you can get in safely. It takes just minutes to complete the task and you don’t even need any tools.
You can always get help from others if you are climbing with them. Make sure you have a clear view of the area where you are climbing and where your drone is stuck.
There are many situations in which climbing a tree is not an option, or at least not safe. If you are not an avid climber, don’t risk it. In many cases, people have stuck themselves in trees trying to salvage their drones and needed emergency services.
Drones can fly higher than most people can climb trees. Some trees may have too many branches that make it difficult to climb.
If in doubt, Don’t do anything that could put your safety at risk.
Use a ladder
A ladder is a great option for those who don’t have the ability to climb. A local equipment shop should have a ladder that you can rent. A ladder is safer than climbing a tree, as you know that it can support your weight.
However, this option won’t work if the drone’s location isn’t visible. To reduce the chance of falling or slipping, it is important to have someone to hold the ladder while you are using it.
Use a long pole
A ladder is an option in most cases. But what if there is thick foliage or the drone is stuck in the branches? What can you do to get the drone out?
You can use a long pole or a knife to remove the drone from its attachment. For reasons we won’t cover, we don’t recommend that you attempt to lift the drone from the tree. However, many drones have propeller guards you can attach a pole to if you are familiar with the procedure.
This is a great way to use a fiberglass pole, but there are other options. We know of people who have had success with pool cues or broomsticks. It should be strong enough to withstand the weight of the drone.
Use a fishing line slingshot
A fishing line is one of the best ways to lift a drone from a tree. However, it can be more expensive than simply finding a ladder.
You will need a strong, kevlar-coated fishing rod and a heavyweight. However, it must be light enough to be thrown far. You can use a baseball or a small rock to do the trick.
Secure the fishing line around your weight. Give the fishing line a test run by placing it in the tree with the drone attached. Next, unwind the fishing string and lay it as straight as possible leading up to your tree.
After you have done this, you can now place the weight with the line attached over the area where your drone is stuck to the tree. You should throw the weight to the right or left of your drone. After all the effort to get it down safely, the last thing that you want to do is destroy your UAV by throwing a baseball at it. The weight should be on the ground, and the fishing line shouldn’t make an upside-down “U” over any troublesome branches.
To cause the drone to fall, you need to shake the fishing line. It’s possible to catch it yourself or have someone else catch it. To ensure that the wire doesn’t get broken, try using different sections of the line. If you feel the drone isn’t moving because of an angle, you can cut the line and throw it back.
Rent a hydraulic lift truck
Many people find it useful to use a fishing line as a method of getting a drone from a tree. However, this is not always a good solution. You will need a heavier duty solution if your drone is really caught in branches, is too high up, or is stuck on a branch that is difficult to lift with a fishing line.
An aerial work platform (also known as a bucket truck) is one option. You can attach it to a larger vehicle, or you could use it as a ladder. These heavy-duty mechanical devices are able to lift you higher than you would on your own and can help you reach greater heights.
Even a used bucket truck can cost thousands. However, many places allow you to rent them out for $250-500 per day. Although that may seem expensive, it is much cheaper than purchasing a new drone.
Hydraulic lifts work in the same way as an aerial platform, but can also be mounted on the back or side of a truck. These types of personnel lifts are usually much cheaper to rent, at $150 per day on average. They can’t fly as high and are often too small to fit into the tree. If you are looking for a way to lift a drone from a tall tree, the first option is probably the best.
If you are flying your drone in a national or state park, you can see help from the park authorities. They might have a hydraulic platform that you can leverage to rescue your drone.
Call the fire department
As a last resort, you can always call 911. Because firefighters don’t enjoy spending their resources on inanimate objects, they might not respond to calls in some areas. It is likely that they won’t respond quickly because drone rescue will not be high on their priority list
Make sure you’re very clear with the fire department about your situation and what help you require. You could get in serious trouble if you claim it’s an emergency. You may end up spending some time in jail, depending on where you live. Be clear about your intentions up front. If the department can’t help, accept their answer and move on to something.
What NOT to Do When Your Drone Gets stuck in a Tree
You’ll find many unreliable results if you Google “How to get a drone from a tree”. These are common methods people use to lift their drone from a tall tree. Some of these are recommended by other websites that Dronethusiast recommends.
Don’t force on the drone to get it out of the tree
Your drone will only sustain minor damage if it falls. You may even hit your drone and cause damage to it. Even if you use a relatively safe device like a foam dart gun, the chances of you catching it and breaking it are low. A few websites recommend that you use a slingshot to catch it, but this is just asking for trouble.
Instead, try the fishing line method. The principle behind it is the same as knocking out the drone, but it’s gentler and safer overall.
Don’t try to flood the drone with a hose
This is an actual “solution” that has been suggested online. It’s also a bad idea. You need a garden hose with very high pressure. If you do not have one, you can cause severe damage to your UAV.
Aside from the potential damage to the drone if it is hit, or the possibility of it falling out of a tree at high speed, most drones don’t have waterproof capabilities. Water will also cause damage to delicate electronic parts that keep it flying and taking photos. Don’t do it.
Don’t try to rescue your drone with another drone
If you have a heavy lifting drone and it’s located at the top of the tree, with very few branches, or none, then give it a try. In all other cases, you should not send another drone to knock out the first drone. This is not only another way to try to force the drone out, but it almost always leads to two drones being saved.
We hope you’re able to gain a better understanding of how to lift a drone from a tree. This is, along with the DJI Phantom Flyaway, one of the most frustrating and potentially dangerous problems you have to deal with while flying quadcopters. Drop us a comment below if you have any questions or comments!