How to Get your RC Plane Out of a Tree

Yes, remote control airplanes sometimes land in trees… and after parking your airplane in a tree, probably, due to a misjudged approach, you will be reminded just how hopeless this situation can seem.

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It doesn’t seem to be that high up, but as you think about what you have in the car/at hand you realize that 5 meters is too far. The days you could scale a tree like that are far behind you, and instead, you have found a stick or rock which you have been throwing at the plane in the vain hope of dislodging it.

However, this is not a completely impossible situation; Here are some useful techniques that will help you get your plane out of that tree safely.

First and foremost – don’t bother throwing stuff at the plane. Unless you bowl for New South Wales or open the pitching for the Yankees, you are not going to be able to generate enough power with accuracy. Even if you do manage to hit it unless the plane is very precariously held chances are you won’t dislodge it, and you may damage the plane to boot.

In general the strategy that seems to work best is shaking the plane out, but obviously, you can’t shake it out using the trunk – you need to shake a branch (the branch the plane is in ideally) which means you need to get leverage on the branch.

The easiest way to do this is to get some lightweight nylon rope or string over the branch in question.

Now – for how to do that there are a few tricks. If the branch is low enough (say up to five meters depending on your arm strength) you can tie the rope around a stick, or metal tool, or the like and try and throw it over the branch (this will be so much easier than trying to actually hit the model). If the plane is higher than that then some other techniques I’ve seen suggested include using a toy bow and arrow (with the rope tied to the arrow) and using a slingshot (with the rope tied to the projectile). Both of these will give you greater accuracy and power.

Once you get the rope on the right branch (make sure the rope is long enough to reach the ground twice yeah) then you can use it to shake the tree branch and try to make the plane fall out.

Now – a couple of things to be careful of:

Often planes are most damaged by the fall from the tree to the ground rather than the crash into the tree itself, so if possible get an assistant to do there best to catch the plane.

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With regard to the assistant’s safety, be aware that all this branch shaking might dislodge a branch, sticks etc. So be careful.

So – do yourself a favor and buy 20 meters of nylon rope (very lightweight stuff) and keep it in the boot of the car to assist with plane recovery. It is best to have this with you because of course, when a LiPo is stuck in a plane in a tree the Battery Eliminator Circuit continues to draw current which will ruin it once the battery is over-discharged, so to some extent, time is of the essence. We just got my plane out of the tree in time for the LiPo to take a charge.

Here’s hoping you don’t need to know any of this!

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