At some point your drone is going to crash and at another point it is likely going to get stuck in a tree. Like death and taxes, it is inevitable. That’s why you should prepare in advance for such a situation and why it is good to know a trick or two for dislodging your drone when it finally DOES get stuck. A little forethought can go a long way and help to keep you from panicking as well. So without further ado, let’s talk about how to get a drone out of a tall tree!
It’s always when you least expect it
There are a number of scenarios that can end with your beloved drone stuck in the gnarly branches of a particularly clingy tree. Most often it’s the result of those fantastic firt person view flights. Soaring through the forest and dodging branches here and there is simply too much fun but it will get you in trouble. Luckily there is a thing or two that you can try in order to free up your drone and get it down from that tree with minimal damage. Let’s review some of the best options.
Use a ladder
It seems odd to have to remind people of this one but the easiest and safest way to get the drone down is a good ladder. If you have a ladder that will extend its reach high enough and someone to hold the base to help to ensure that there are no accidents then why not just use this method? If you have a garage workshop there is almost always a ladder in there somewhere so if your drone is stuck then you should fish it out and see if it’s long enough. This is much safer than simply poking it with a stick and hoping to catch it before it hits the ground.
One clever way to help to get your drone out of a tree is the ‘fishing line trick’. It’s fairly simple, you want to take a heavy weight Kevlar coated fishing line, tie it to a rock or another heavy weight, and then throw the rock over the branch where your drone is stuck (not on the drone but in front of or behind it). With some quick tugs you can move the branch around a bit and with luck this will cause your drone to fall out where you or a friend may catch it. This is a good thing to purchase now, before the stuck drone becomes an issue, as are the items from out next recommendation.
Claw-Grip Pole and fishing net
You can purchase claw-grip poles (generally used for picking up trash or as a novelty) and a fishing net of the type that you use to scoop up a fish once you’ve got it close to the boat. Keep these handy in your garage and when needed they can be quite useful. The claw grip extends your reach if there is a ladder or something else which you can step on and the net ensures that you can catch your falling drone with a minimum chance of damage. The pole doesn’t have to be a claw pole, of course, as a refular pole or even a long stick can work well with the fishing net, but claw-grips are much more convenient and less likely to damage your drone than poking it with a stick.
Rent a lift for a Day
If you are truly desperate and it’s an expensive drone, you can rent a hydraulic lift. A hydraulic lift is similar in style to the aerial lifts which you see on construction sites and they generally come unmounted or mounted in the back of a truck. You will need to be able to get this equipment to the tree, of course, but if there is room then you can rent a hydraulic lift sometimes for around $150 per day. It is an expensive option but if your drone is fairly high end then it might be a very good option as repairs on more advanced drones can easily top $150. You might also consider calling the Fire Department but in general they may not be receptive to assisting you in removing a machine from a tree rather than a person or a feline. If they do, however, agree to help (and in small towns this is quite likely) then you will need to be patient as it will certainly not be a priority.
Do you have a ‘heavy lifting’ drone?
Our final trick for getting your drone out of a tree is potentially risky. If there is NO chance of getting another drone stuck up there (for instance, if there is not a dense tangle of branches above your target drone) and you happen to have a ‘lifting’ drone then you could attempt to snare the trapped drone in this fashion. You might also be able to tie a rope and a hook to your lifting drone as well but you will
“You don’t want to cause a crash through your rescue attempt”
want to pilot it very slowly and carefully, as your hook could snag and then you’ll have TWO drones stuck in the tree. If you attempt this, be sure that your drone is rated to lift the weight of your target as well, because you don’t want to cause a crash through your rescue attempt. Use this method only if you are very seasoned at flying your drone and only as a last resort, because this one has the highest chances of complicating things.
Today we’ve have discussed methods that you may employ for getting a drone out of a tall tree. Preparing in advance is a good idea and you should also consider property insurance for your drone, just in case the worst happens. It is relatively inexpensive and you will be happy for it when your drone inevitably gets stuck or suffers a crash from wind shifts. Until next time, fly safely and fly prepared!