A drone caught in crisscrossing branches or simply hanging up high in a tree is a sad and frustrating scene. If you’re feeling hopeless, keep in mind that you can still recover it. And until you hold it again and see how bad the damage is, there’s a silver lining to this situation.
Before we share with you How to get a drone out of a tree, we have a few reminders. First, it can be easier to retrieve a quadcopter that’s stuck in a backyard tree compared to rescuing one that is trapped in a tree that’s out of nowhere. Second, some tips can cost you. And third, you will probably need a lot of patience, too.
Let’s go over your options.
How to Get a Drone out of a Tree? Some Great Tips
Using a Fruit Picker
Have you ever heard of the fruit picking drone developed by an Israeli startup? It sounds like a fun concept, right? But forget fruit picking. Fun is probably the last feeling you’ll have if your quad gets stuck in a tree. Don’t discard that thought about fruit picking, though. What if you can use a fruit picker to poke or pluck the thing down?
For this, we hope your drone landed in a backyard tree. If it’s in a deserted place, you can abandon the idea now. But if it’s the former, then we also hope you have a fruit picker at home. You can borrow from your neighbor if they have one, and you don’t. If you tell them what happened, they’re probably going to lend you theirs quickly.
You can also buy one but do it fast. Leaving the drone for hours or overnight may make it vulnerable to the elements, especially water and moisture. We know of someone who got their DJI trapped in a tree and borrowed their neighbor’s 75-foot cherry picker. Fortunately, only one propeller was damaged after all the hullabaloo.
Climbing the Tree
Climbing a tree is a life skill, at least for the people trained to do an aerial rescue. But if you have never tried rescuing even a cat, then this option may not be a no-brainer for you. So, let’s review some safety techniques.
For one, we suggest you do this step if the tree is not above 20 feet. It will make more sense, though, that a drone is stuck high up. So you may have to climb to the top of the tree. So as a safety measure, find a rope with a thickness that can handle your weight as you pull up your body toward the treetop.
Secure a weight with a tight knot on one end of the rope. Swing the weighted end around a sturdy branch, make sure it’s steady, and then start climbing to rescue your quad. This photo from Instructables shows how it looks like:
Using a Ladder or a Long Pole
If you do not want to climb a tree manually, a ladder would be a good alternative. You can rent one from a local equipment shop if you don’t have it at home. Going this route is safer because it’s a given that a ladder can support your weight. You can also have someone hold it steady for you on the ground.
The risk of slipping or falling is one you should watch out for. In this regard, your companion can help boost your confidence and focus. But what if you can’t see the area where your drone landed? Then you can use a long pole, preferably a fiberglass model, to poke the drone out. Aim to hook the stick into the propeller guards.
No long pole? No problem. Try a long flat object like a pool cue or even a broomstick instead!
Trying the Throw Weight
If you’ve scrolled down to this point, you’re still probably searching for the right step to take. A throw weight is a bit similar to the idea of adding weight to one end of your rope. But this time, you are not going to climb it. You will need a heavy object that you can throw at a reasonable distance. Tie a light fishing line to it, securing it fits snugly.
Then, walk away from the tree for about 100 feet, unwinding the fishing line as you go. Once you have covered the distance, return to the starting point. Throw the line over the spot where the quad is stuck, overshooting a bit to the left or right. The line should be rubbing the tree correctly so that it won’t break.
Shake the line until the drone falls. Try experimenting on different angles until you find what works for you.
Calling the Fire Department
This step should be considered carefully. We understand that you may have run out of options by now. But if you choose to call the fire department, it may not work for you as it didn’t for a few of the people who shared their experience on the internet. They were either ignored by their local firefighters, asked to pay a fine for wasting resources, or, worse, locked up in jail in some cases.
To avoid miscommunication, make sure you explain your situation clearly to the officer. If they refuse to help retrieve your drone, then it’s probably for the best. Usually, rescuing cats or even drones is beyond their scope of duty. That would entail using up the resources of the department on something quite personal. That is perfectly understandable.
But you’d be lucky if it’s a slow day and you get the fire brigade to come to the area where your drone is stuck.
Getting a Lift
Having a bucket truck or a lift comes in handy. This solution is by far the most efficient on our list. But unless you work for a tree service company, you probably don’t own either and are not about to go shopping for one.
So, if the unthinkable happens to you, you can op