What's the best way to get an airplane out of a tree?
My plane is about 50 to 60 feet up in a huge ficus tree. I can see the tail
section sticking out of the leaves. If someone were to climb it, I don't
believe that they can reach it.
Is there some common (or not so common) tool or device that can be
improvised to get it down? Will the city workers get it down for me, if I
I thought of trying to knock it down, but I want to minimize any damage to
Thanks in advance for any hints or tips!
People have used pvc pipe sections strung together to make
long reachers. I don't think you'll be able to handle a 60'
pipe. You might be able to climb 40' and use a 20' assembly
to snag the plane.
People have also fallen out of trees and gotten electrocuted
trying to rescue things stuck in trees. Whatever you do,
please come home in one piece afterward!
Depends on the city and the workers.
Two 10' sections of PVC pipe, large diameter, glued together.
Run a noose out the top of the pipe made out of stiff twine.
Arrange it so that you can tighten the noose by pulling on
the loose ends coming out the other end of the piping.
Climb high enough to snag the tail with the noose.
Don't fall while lassooing or tugging the plane. :o(
Tie a weight to the end of a light line and throw over the tail of the
model. Lower the weight and replace with a loop or ring around the line,
pull the line untill it encircles the model. Pass the line around a branch
just above halfway up. Make a loop in the line with the 'neck' joined with a
shorter length of rubber to act as a shock absorber. Pull on line!!!!!!
Never tried this, let me know if it works. :o)
I've had luck with the following ~
5-6 six foot lengths aluminum tubing, 5/8 inch ID, 3/4 OD
5-6 six foot lengths aluminum tubing, 3/4 inch ID
10-12 pieces of coat hanger, 3-6 inches
one (auto) muffler clamp, 2 (auto) heater hose clamps
use the hose clamps to fasten the muffler clamp "hook"
to the end of one piece of tubing.
alternate large and small tubing, sliding each approx
six inches onto the next; drill a small hole approx 3 inches
from the end of each tube, and slide a coat hanger wire
through to attach them, bend the ends of the wire. You
now have the equipment ready ~ disassemble it.......
The tubing is NOT strong enough to hoist to a vertical
position while it's assembled, but by sliding and snaking
each section (starting with the hook) into the tree, and
connecting a new section as you lift the assembly, you can
feed the device up through the branches, towards the plane,
using the branches for support. Once you get to the plane,
hook, push, rattle, pull, do whatever it takes. Expect some
damage, but you've recovered (no pun intended) your gear.
Another quick trick involves an archery bow, and a fishing
arrow ~ the arrow has a spring-loaded barb that will
penetrate the wing/fuse, but cannot be pulled back out.
It has a line attached to a spool on the bow. Shoot and
Caution with aluminum tubes ~ check carefully for electric
wires, and avoid contact.
Caution with arrow ~ expect several misses, and be aware
of where the arrow will fall if it speeds past the plane. Don't
shoot straight up at the plane....
Will the city workers get it down for me, if I
Try contacting some tree surgeons or groundskeepers who work for the
city, or a local school/university. There could be one out there who
would get it down for a reasonable fee, especially if you offer
him/her a chance to fly your plane on a buddy box. It is amazing how
little time it takes for a professional to SAFELY climb up a tree and
retrieve your plane.
We have used one from the local university. He only charged $35 to get
a plane down from a 50 foot ash tree. We bought him a breakfast on the
way back from the field, to let him know how much we appreciated his
reasonable service. He thought it was fun and we made a new (and
A couple of fellows I know were flying and got a plane stuck in a tree....
no problem said one, I'll just call the fire dept. to come get it out....
well he did, but the dispatcher didn't catch the 'model' plane part, and
thought it was a real plane and sent every piece of emergency equipment they
had....... when the chief got there, he was not amused..... and everyone
left with the plane still in the tree...
One thing we use is a bow and arrow with a light line. Once the light line
is over the plane, a heavier line is pulled up with a small grappling hook
attached... it usually comes down in pieces, but sometimes.... big pieces.
Arne, USA (I would take up golf, but I don't have the time)
After falling 5 out of 40 feet (branch broke while I was hoisting myself up
to the next branch and I landed on the branch below grabbing the trunk in a
death grip) I slept on it and came back the next day with a fishing pole
(didn't have a bow). Got off a lucky cast and hauled up a kite string that
was strong enough to shake the branch pretty hard. It came out and started
flying (kind of). Not right to me of course so it had a hard landing.
Maybe if I'd had the transmitter and the rx battery wasn't quite dead
Just in case the monkey wont come down, this may help:
How To Get A Gorilla Out Of A Tree
Get the following:
1) Long Pole
2) Heavy Net
3) Pit Bull (the dog training comes in handy here)
Go up the tree with the pole and use it to shove the gorilla out of the
tree. (Leave the net and the shotgun down with your helper)
Train the pit bull to use it's powerful jaws to grasp the fallen gorilla
by his nuts, thus immobilizing him until you and your helper can get the
net on him.
Sometimes the gorilla will knock you out of the tree. In that case,
instruct your helper to shoot the dog.
Paintball gun. Trust me, it works. I've retrieved many a plane with one
with minimal damage. Wal-Mart will have a decent one for about $60 dollars,
gun, balls, and CO2. It can be used later at the field to try and shoot
down other warbirds and makes combat interesting.
If it's anywhere near a power line you may be able to get the power company to
retrieve it for you. I'm a newbie with planes as my eperience has been with
rockets. I have had the power company retrieve several rockets from or near
power lines. They will come out especially if there is any chance some kid my
try to get it down.
On another occasion (without me knowing about it) someone used a 20 gauge
shotgun to get one of my rockets down. However, I wouldn't recommend this.
Get one of those whirlybird nuts in your club, who are always braggin'
on how great they can fly and how super those eggbeaters are, to snag
it and lower it down while scaring the hell out of everybody with one
their low inverted mostly controlled passes.
I used a wrist rocket sling shot - some heavy gage fishing line and a sinker.
Tie the end of the fishing line to the sinker - put the spool on a stick,
pencil, etc. Have a friend hold it so it will unwind. Use the sling shot to
flick it up over the model. Actually, if you get it around the nearby branches,
you can pull on the line and usually have the branches flip the plane out. If
it falls into the next level of branches - no prob, rewind the line on the
spool and start again. Never failed me yet!
Good luck with it!
Hmmm, if you have trouble getting a small monkey to train, you can always use
the hidden elephant.
You don't know about the hidden elephant?
Well, how do you hide an elephant?
Paint his toenails red and put him in a cherry tree.
What? You've never seen an elephant in a cherry tree?
See, it works!
"There's a Hun in the sun!"
Okay, I got it down today after the plane had an overnight stay in that
tree. This morning I surveyed the plane. The tail section was sticking out a
bit. I also brought my Laser Range Finder (used when I play golf), and
determined the plane to be 11 yards up (33') and not the 50 or 60 feet that
I originally thought. Hey, when your first plane is in a tree, you think it
was 1,000 feet up. :-)
So, I went to Home Depot and bought a three 10' sections of 1-1/4" PVC
piping and two couplers to join them together. I ran 200# monofilament
fishing leader line through the pipe and tied a big loop on one end. The
other end, I tied a stick to it (so as to not lose the end of the line up
into the pipe).
My plans were to place the loop over the tail section, and then pull the
other end of the line through the pipe to tighten the "noose" and pull the
However, when I went back to the tree that afternoon, the winds had swayed
the branches and the plane had settled in a bit more deeply into the tree.
The tail section was no where to be seen from out from under the tree
canopy. I could, however, see the plane standing directly under the tree.
There were so many branches and leaves that there was no room for the loop
be able to go around any part of the plane. So, at this time, I proceeded to
just poke the plane. It fell about seven feet lower into the tree before
getting hung on another branch. Finally, another couple of pokes freed the
plane and I tried to catch it with one hand (while balancing this 30' pipe
with the other). I managed to slow its decent down with my hand which
flipped it upright and it landed directly on its wheels! No damage
I guess I'm lucky *this* time. ;-)