Your drone is stuck in a tall tree, now what?! This can be an issue! But it’s extremely important that you stop and think before you try to do anything in a hurry.
Once you have composed yourself, here are the 10 most effective methods that WILL get your drone out of the tree, GUARANTEED!
- Call the fire department if you feel like you’re putting yourself in danger. This is an order!
- Call tree trimmers that are near your location.
- Put a drone rescue plea out on Facebook. I wrote out a template, check it out below.
- Go fishing for your drone.
- Grab poles and some duct tape.
- Use a roof rake.
- Use 10 foot long ABS pipe sections from home depot.
- Bamboo works great too.
- Bag of beans? Great idea!
- Nerf guns! The oldest trick in the book.
Before you start reading the details of the methods above, STOP AND READ THIS first or you’ll break your drone into pieces.
- Be prepared to catch it! Most of the time a drone won’t break when it crashes into a tree, it breaks when it hits the ground after you’ve finally managed to dislodge it. So make sure you prepare a soft and safe landing for your drone.
- Be quick before it gets wet. If it rains often in your area, you’ll probably want to get the drone down before it gets water damaged. If it’s too late, make sure you read my post on how to fix a water damaged drone once you finally get your drone down.
Now that you’re prepared, let’s get that drone out of the tree once and for all before it starts to rain.
01. Call The Fire Department—SERIOUSLY!
I wanted to mention this tip first because a lot of people might think that this is “wasting” government resources, however, hear me out. There are a lot of people who get desperate and put themselves in dangerous positions by attempting to climb tall trees. The fire department would much rather have you ask for their help than putting yourself or others at risk.
How do I know that they would prefer it? Well, let’s see what a fire Lt. had to say about this in a forum here;
“As a carrier fire Lt. in the US I can say I have been asked to get a drone out of a tree. I understand people’s reaction to it being a waste of resources. And in my department, it’s on a case by case basis. For example, the non-emergency fire alarm bucket truck retrieved a drone from a tree so as not to tie up an emergency ladder truck. One of the reasons for the Fire department doing it is. If people get creative/desperate to get the drone back they can easily hurt themselves or others. Also, I would never use water to get one out of a tree.”
Lt. in a fire department.
If your drone is stuck in a tree, and you feel like attempting to climb it night put yourself or others in dangers way, then make sure you call them and explain your situation, this is 100% legal! And, they don’t charge you a dime. In the United States, the only emergency service you’ll get charged for is an ambulance, (even more of a reason not to put yourself in danger.)
Here are some important tips you need to read before calling the fire department.
- They don’t work for you, and they don’t owe you anything. So when talking to them speak apologetically and out of respect. They’ll appreciate your tone and they’ll be much more likely to help you.
- Explain the situation EXACTLY how it is. Don’t over sensationalize anything, and definitely don’t lie to them. If they arrive at the scene and your drone is 6 feet high, when you told them it was 50 feet up, then this might upset them.
- Emphasize that your situation is not a priority and you’re more than happy to wait.
- Only ask for help if its a valuable drone. If it’s a drone that’s only worth $50, you’re better off just leaving the drone up there.
- Have a crate of beer waiting for them. You want to leave a good impression so they’ll help out others that have the same issue. They might not be able to drink on the job, but this would be MUCH appreciated.
Follow these steps and they’ll be more than happy to help!
02. Call Tree Trimmers
Call a tree trimmer and offer them $50 or so to just swing by for a minute and grab your drone out of the tree. Who doesn’t need the extra work?
This will save you a ton of time and money. Most of the tips you’ll find online will need you to buy something. And generally, it will cost you around $50 of material anyways. And the methods aren’t even guaranteed to work. So save yourself the headache, and make a few calls instead.
Tree trimmers already have all the equipment that they’ll need, on top of that because they won’t need to do tree trimming, it’s an easy job. Who knows, you might get lucky they’ll offer to do it for a beer.
Here’s are some tips when you do make that call.
- Google “tree trimmers near me” and go to maps, then look through those suggestions. This avoids you selecting any business that runs ads. Tree trimmers that run ads are more likely to be too busy to help you out.
- On the map call tree trimmers that are closest to your location. It will be easier for them to swing by and do this quick job.
- Call tree trimmers that have low or few google reviews. They’re more likely to be quiet and hungry for work.
03. Put A Drone Rescue Plea Out On Facebook
People generally want to be good and help wherever they can. Especially on Facebook! Try posting a drone rescue plea out on Facebook and ask for someone that has the climbing gear or for someone that works for a tree or roofing service. Someone is bound to know someone who can help. Try it! You’ll be surprised at how many people offer help.
You don’t even need to think of what you need to write. I’ve taken the liberty and written the post for you, so all you need to do is copy and paste the post below into your Facebook news feed, and wait for someone to offer help.
Here’s the Facebook plea post you can use:
PLEASE HELP! I’ve just gotten my drone stuck in a tall tree. I’ve tried everything that I can think of and I just can’t manage to get it down. My last option is to try and climb the tree, but it’s extremely high and I don’t want to put myself or others in danger. If anyone here works for a tree scaping business, or has the professional climbing gear and knows how to climb really tall trees safely please can you help me out. The drone costs an arm and a leg so I would forever be grateful!
04. Slingshot, Fishing Line And Lead Weights
This method works pretty well according to a drone pilot that tried it on this forum. He managed to get his drone stuck in a 50-foot tree and this was his solution. Everything you’ll need can be bought from Walmart for less than $20 apparently.
Important items that you’ll need for this:
- Some 50 lb 150 ft fishing line. That’s what he recommends, however, I think 100 ft line would work just fine.
- Lead weights.
- A decent size slingshot that’s capable of shooting the lead weights at a decent distance.
- If your drone is high up, you’ll also need a net or just simply a soft blanket to catch your drone with.
Here’s how this trick works:
- Aim for the branch that your drone is stuck on. You’re trying to get the lead weight hooked over the branch. Now it’s important that you don’t aim for your drone, not unless you want to shoot a lead weight straight through it. If your aim sucks, I suggest doing some target practice before you try this step.
- The above steps might take a few tries. In the forum, it took him an hour before he successfully hooked the branch. So just be patient.
- If the tree is high and the ‘landing spot’ below the tree is hard, I suggest you have someone waiting below the drone to catch it with a net or a soft blanket.
- Once you have the lead weight hooked over the branch, begin shaking the branch. Your hope here is that the drone will get dislodged and come tumbling down.
That should do it. If not then you could try it again, or move on to the next tip.
05. Duct Tape Three Rakes Together
This is another neat trick that worked for a drone enthusiast named Velospinner on this forum. All he did was duct tape three rakes together, which gave him a total of 12 meters or 39 feet. So if your drone isn’t that high up, this might be a method that will work for you.
Now keep in mind that any long poles will work. If you have an old broom, rake and a pool pole, then go ahead and tape all three of them together. The point of this trick is to use what you have. A little bit of ingenuity will go a long way.
Important items that you’ll need for this:
- Duct tape
- Pool, rake or even broomsticks.
- Something soft for the drone ‘landing.’ A net or blanket will do.
Here’s how you can perform this:
- Duct take your poles or sticks together with a bit of overlap so that they can stay together when they are lifted.
- Setup a soft landing area for the drone so that the drone doesn’t get damaged.
- Try knocking at the branch the drone is stuck on first to avoid damaging the drone.
- As a last case scenario, start jabbing at the drone.
06. Use A Roof Rake
If you have a roof rake then this might save you some time. Roof rakes can easily extend up to 21 feet. So if the branch that your drone is stuck on is lower than that, then a roof rake could work pretty well.
What you’ll need:
- A roof rake. Try to get a roof rake that can extend as long as possible. Here’s a roof rake I found at home depot that can extend to up to 21 feet.
- Something soft for landing. A blanket or net will work just fine.
How to do it:
- Prepare your landing area by getting someone to stand underneath with a blanket or net. If you’re alone at-least try to lay out a soft blanket.
- Start by shaking the branch it’s stuck on. If you don’t have success with that, start poking at the drone.
07. Use 10 Foot Long ABS Pipe Sections From Home Depot
This smart idea came from Tomtopping on phatompilots.com. I haven’t tried it personally, but it’s a clever way to reach drones that are REALLY high up there. Each section of pipe is 10 feet, so but as many as you need to reach the desired height. The only downside is this will cost you around $100 to setup. so if you don’t have the money to spend then move on to a different tip.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- 10 too long 1.5 ABS pipe. You should be able to get some from Home Depot here. Buy as many as you’ll need for your desired height.
- Then grab some ABS pipe fittings for your 1.5 inch ABS pipe
- Glue to glue them all together.
- Blanket or net to catch the drone.
If you’re not really sure how to glue these together, ask someone at home depot to give you a quick crash course.
Here’s how to do it:
- Take all the pipes to the area of the drone.
- Glue them all together. The glue should dry in a few minutes.
- Prepare the drones ‘landing’ area with something soft. Or have someone ready to catch it with a large net or blanket.
- Start tapping at the branch it’s stuck to. If that’s not successful, begin poking at the drone until it becomes dislodged from the tree.
Bamboo is strong and long! The perfect material to use when trying to reach places that are high…like a tall tree.
The only problem is finding them. I managed to find 6 foot long poles for around $68 for a pack of 25 at Lowes.com. These will work, however you’ll need to buy some duct tape to tape them all together. Taped together they could easily get you around 100 feet in height.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- Bamboo poles. I found a pack of 25 six-foot poles at Lowes.com here.
- Duct tape.
- Blanket or net.
Here’s how to do it:
- Tape the bamboo poles together to the desired length. Make sure that you have a decent amount of overlap on the poles so that it doesn’t break when you lift it up.
- Prepare the ‘landing’ area. It’s always better to have someone to stand under the drone with a blanket or net.
- Try to tap at the branch. If this doesn’t dislodge the drone then you can go ahead and poke at it.
09. Bag Of Beans
This is another interesting hack that seems to work for a lot of unfortunate drone pilots. A bag of beans works great because they are soft enough to throw at your drone, but still heavy enough to throw them at a decent distance.
For this hack you’ll need:
- Around 7 hand fulls of any raw beans.
- An old pillowcase, or any other material case you can use to hold the beans.
- A long rope or fishing line. The best rope to use is thin nylon rope.
- Soft blanket or net to catch the drone.
Here’s how to do it:
- Pour your beans into the pillowcase or material sachet.
- Twist the end and tie off the neck with a rope. It’s important that you don’t pack the beans too tight. You need to leave it loose enough to be able to feel your fingers from the other end if you push your hand through.
- Swing the bean bag in circles and slingshot it towards your drone or over the branch, your drone is stuck in.
- Aim to either knock the drone out of the tree, or you can get the bean bag over and around the brand so that you can jolt the branch with the rope until the drone flings out.
10. Shoot It With A Nerf Gun
This is a popular method that a lot of people turn to. Nerf guns work great because the bullets are big and soft. If you don’t have a Nerf gun already, you can pick one up from Walmart. But make sure you do it as soon as possible, you can’t afford to leave your drone in the tree over night.
At the end of the say you also want to ask yourself how much your drone is worth to you. If it’s a $50 drone, then the best thing to do is probably just walk away and get a new one. Most tree rescues will cost you more than $50 of at-least your time and efforts. However, if its an expensive drone always keep your safety as a number one priority. If you sense any kind of danger during your drone rescue attempt, then call the police department!