Due to their assistance systems, drones can now be mastered by almost everyone. Still, even professional drone pilots can make a mistake when handling their copter. The drone then either crashes to the ground, falls, or gets caught in the tree. But how to get a drone out of a tree?
No matter where the drone hangs, you should first keep calm. Drones get stuck in trees all the time, so you are certainly not the first with such a problem. If the drone is stuck in a tree on your own property, you can take your time to rescue it.
However, if the drone is stuck in public space, you should hurry to prevent it from crashing down on people. It could also be recovered and stolen by someone else. There are several ways to get a drone from a tree. Depending on how complicated the rescue is and what equipment is available, you can choose the appropriate method.
Second drone for rescue by rope transport
In order to get the drone from a tree, it is recommended to attach a rope to the branch and shake it. Depending on how high the tree is, it can be challenging to reach this height with the listed means. A second drone can help.
The second drone needs to be equipped with a rope and fly over the branch or the tree’s whole part. It is essential to keep a safe distance! Otherwise, the next drone will also get stuck in the tree. Suppose the rope is too heavy for the second drone. A thin string can then be attached to the drone, and after the drone has landed, a cord can be knotted to this string. By pulling back the line, the rope is stretched over the tree. Afterward, the copter is released by shaking it.
Second drone for rescue by hook
Another possibility to rescue the drone with a second drone is to equip the rescue drone with a hook. It must be ensured that the rescue drone can carry its own weight and that of the drone to be rescued. Otherwise, it cannot release the stuck drone, and there is a risk that both drones will fall.
Once a sufficiently strong rescue drone has been found, it can be positioned over the crashed drone using the hook. Afterward, it will slowly sink down until the hook reaches the other drone, which hooks itself successfully. Then the drone rises and lifts the crashed drone out of the obstacle.
To use this method, enormous skill and a lot of experience in drone control is required. An impressive example of how it can look like when such a thing succeeds can be seen in the following video.
Rescue with the ladder
The easiest and most gentle way to rescue a drone is with a ladder. Depending on how high the ladder is hanging in the tree, you can use a regular one-piece or multi-piece ladder. A second person should always secure the ladder against slipping.
This method’s advantage is its simplicity because most people have a ladder or borrow one from friends. The copter is also removed from the tree very gently since the rescue operation does not cause it to fall to the ground.
Rescue with a filled water bottle
This method requires some skill and patience. Most pilots will have a water bottle with them on the way and be able to drink something during their trips. You will have to throw the bottle toward the tree. The aim is to hit the branch on which the drone is hanging. One should aim at the branch and not at the drone!
It is recommended to use a plastic bottle and not glass bottles because they can break and cause injury. It should not be tried to catch the drone because it can cause considerable damages. The pointed and sharp rotor blades can injure hands even through gloves. Also, the drone can crash on your face and hurt the eyes or cut the face. It is, therefore, better to drop the drone on the ground or a carpet. If possible, cushions can be placed under the planned crash site. This absorbs the fall and does not endanger anyone.
Long telescopic rod to rescue the drone
Another possibility is the use of a long telescopic rod. This is available at the hardware store or the fishing store. Thus the drone from the tree can be “fished” by striking the branch at which the drone hangs.
One should avoid hitting the drone itself in order not to damage it further. With this method, cushions and a blanket should be used to absorb the impact with the ground. In no case you should try to catch the drone because the risk of injury is too high.
Rescue of the drone by a harpoon
A slightly more aggressive approach is to use a harpoon to save the drone. A standard harpoon is used to drive a rope into the tree. If you then shake the rope, the branch will wobble, and the drone can come loose.
Of course, the harpoon must be obtained in advance. Care must be taken that no passers-by or other uninvolved persons are endangered. Depending on the string’s design on the harpoon, a thicker rope can be tied to the line to apply more force for the shaking.
Another alternative is the self-construction of a harpoon for drone rescue. The instructions for this can be found in the following video.
Climb up a tree and rescue a drone
To rescue the drone, the pilot or an experienced climber can also climb up the tree and bring the drone down. However, this method is dangerous, as one can quickly fall from the tree and get seriously injured.
It is, therefore, essential to take appropriate precautions before climbing in the tree. On the one hand, this method should not be used if the drone is hanging very high in the tree, as the danger of falling increases considerably. If the drone is at the tree’s edge, it should also not be climbed since the branches are fragile and cannot support the climber.
It is generally not advisable to climb up the tree if you have no experience in climbing. If you decide to climb up the tree, you have to take care of appropriate safety equipment. In any case, the climber should secure himself with a rope on the tree to avoid falling if slipping. Ideally, a second person should take over the belay and be ready to call an ambulance in case of an emergency.
An elevating platform for drone rescue
Heavy equipment can be used to rescue the drone. For example, an elevating platform, popularly known as a “flying carpet,” can be used to reach the drone at high altitude.
For a mostly low rental fee, access platforms can be rented for a few hours from many machine parks. Depending on the model, no particular driver’s license is necessary, and they can be used after a short time. This way, the drone can be rescued safely from the tree, and unlike most other methods, it will be safely rescued.
Assign a tree care company
An external service provider can also be hired for rescue. Suppose the drone is located in a difficult to access area of the tree or high altitude. In that case, special equipment is usually required to reach it. Here a local provider of tree and garden care can often help.
These companies have the necessary equipment and experience to remove the drone quickly and safely from the tree. In most cases, their deployment is not entirely cheap since personnel is also involved in the operation and the equipment. However, with larger and more expensive drones, it can make sense to have them rescued by a company to prevent further damage to the drone if it falls from the tree.
Fire department for rescue
A further alternative is the rescue of the drone by the fire department. The fire department can rescue the drone from the tree using a turntable ladder or other equipment and return it to its owner.
However, since this operation is personnel and equipment intensive, it is also associated with high costs. Therefore, the drone owner should consider it the last option to keep rescue costs as low as possible. Due to the pilot’s negligence, these costs must be supported by the pilot. However, if the drone endangers passers-by, the fire department may come to remove the drone anyway. The pilot can be identified by the attached sticker and must pay the costs.