How to get a drone out of a tree

How to Get a Drone Out of a Tree

Are you frustrated because you have just got your drone stuck in a tree? These ‘How to get a drone out of a tree‘ tips will help you retrieve your drone in no time.

Getting a drone stuck in a tree can be really frustrating, but it happens to a lot of pilots, probably more than you think. It can also create anxiety not knowing if you have now damaged your drone by breaking an arm or even worse….the gimbal.

Before panicking and rushing in to save your drone, relax, stop, and think about it first. There is no doubt you will most likely get it back and flying in the sky again in no time!

Assess The Risk Before Attempting The Rescue Mission

  • Before rushing into rescuing the drone, do a quick risk assessment of your surroundings first. After all, no matter how expensive your drone is, your drone can always be replaced, but your life can’t.
  • Look up and work out how high up in the tree your drone is and where it’s positioned. If it was to fall out, could it land on anybody and cause an injury?

With that out of the way, check out the below tips to safely get your drone back in your hands.

Climb The Tree

If safe to do so, the best way to get a drone out of a tree is to climb it providing the drone isn’t too high up. Make sure that the tree looks healthy and not half-dead and the limbs are a good diameter, you don’t want the branches breaking on you when you are halfway up a tree.

Some things to remember before attempting to climb a tree;

  • Does the tree look safe to climb?
  • Do you feel comfortable climbing up and back down the tree?
  • Are you afraid of heights?
  • Is someone there with you in case something goes wrong?
  • Ensure you check from the ground and work out a safe route before climbing the tree.
  • Are the branches and limbs thin and could break on you?

Use a Ladder

Using a ladder to get a drone out of a tree

Using a ladder is safer than climbing a tree and can be a successful way to get your drone back if the drone isn’t too high.

Ensure that the ladder is in a good safe condition, on flat ground, and sturdy against the tree.

Get somebody to hold the ladder at the base for you while climbing it to provide extra stability.

If you find yourself close to getting the drone, but can’t get any more height, try using a stick or pole to give the drone a nudge. Just make sure nobody is standing underneath where it could potentially land.

Get an Extension Pole

Using an extension pole is a good way to get that extra reach to try and probe the drone down from the tree. This isn’t the ideal way to get a drone down because when it comes down it could and most likely will do some damage to the drone itself i.e. broken arms, probs, gimbal, etc. If you don’t have other options, this may be all you can do to retrieve it.

If an extension pole isn’t available, you could duct tape some lightweight sticks or bamboo together to try instead.

If you require a bit more height you can combine this with using the ladder as per the previous tip?

Use Fishing Line or Rope With a Weight

using light weight rope and weight to get a drone out of a tree

Lightweight rope or fishing line with a weight attached can be used to retrieve your lost drone.

Simply tie a weight to the end of the rope and providing you are a decent thrower and can aim, you may be in luck!

If you find that it is not getting the distance, tie a heavier weight to the rope and try again.

You don’t want to aim directly at the drone (if you hit it, you may break it), but want to aim close to one side of it and hope that the weight may either wrap itself around a branch or get snagged.

Once the weight is in the tree, try to shake the branch by pull the rope side to side. Doing this should hopefully make the branch sway and move and fingers crossed, the drone starts to make its way out.

Once again, just be careful of your surroundings as you don’t want the drone to drop out of the tree on yours or somebody else’s head.

Fly The Drone Out of The Treeflying a drone out of a tree when it is stuck

Flying the drone out of a tree would have to be one of my least preferred methods. Starting up the drone and attempting to fly it out may work, but could also cause a lot of damage to your drone.

If your drone isn’t an expensive one, give it a go, and hopefully, you don’t damage it too much.

If I had to get my DJI drone out of a tree I wouldn’t attempt this until I have tried everything else, unless I had it covered by DJI Care Refresh insurance and know I would get a replacement.

Call a Tree Lopper

To get a drone out of a tall tree, I would highly suggest using a tree lopper. It may seem like a strange suggestion, but tree loppers are professionals that are used to climbing trees every day for a living. They also have all of the safety equipment, harnesses, ropes, etc. associated with climbing trees.

It would definitely be worthwhile giving a lopper a call and see if they are interested in helping you out for a fee to retrieve your drone.

Use a Hydraulic Lift

using a mechanical/hydraulic lift to rescue a drone from a tree

There are a few issues when it comes to using a mechanical lift to save your drone from a tree.

  • The hire fees of a boom lift can be very expensive, plus the price to get the machine delivered can be costly.
  • If your drone is stuck in a tree with obstructions, the lifts are limited to where they can go and maneuver to.
  • Most boom lifts and also scissor lifts require a licensed operator which can also be costly.
  • Most likely not available at short notice.

Using a mechanical lift is a lot safer than climbing up a tree, but has its disadvantages. But, it is an option that can’t be ruled out.

Fire Department

using the fire department to rescue a drone from a tree

Can you call the fire department to get a drone out of a tree? Yes, you can call the fire department but should be your absolute last method. There is no guarantee that they will come out to help you, but it is worth asking if all else fails.

If you do call the fire department, DO NOT use the emergency number, use their local office number instead. You don’t want to take up their life-saving resources for a non-emergency situation.

Make sure whoever you talk to, you explain exactly what you are calling for and emphasize that it is a non-life-threatening situation. If not, you could get a hefty fine for taking up their valuable time.

Just remember that if they do come out they are using their resources to help YOU! They may not come straight away, you could be waiting for a few weeks until they do come. Just hope that it doesn’t rain between then.

If they do agree to come but can’t for a while, go back to where the drone is stuck on a regular basis to check if it is still stuck up in the tree as it could eventually come down with the wind.

Summary of How to Get a Drone Out of a Tree;

  • Climb the tree.
  • Use a ladder.
  • Use an extension pole.
  • Use a fishing line or lightweight rope with a weight attached.
  • Fly the drone out of the tree.
  • Call a professional tree lopper to see if they can climb the tree for you.
  • Use a mechanical/hydraulic lift i.e. scissor lift or boom lift.
  • Call the fire department (last resort).

Don’t Use The Following to Rescue Your Drone

Using a Water Hose

Don't use a garden hose to get a drone down, pack it away

I have heard in the past people saying to use a garden hose to squirt water at the drone. This is ok if your drone is a waterproof drone, but most drones aren’t.

If you were to spray water at it, it will most likely get water inside on the main circuit board and in the motors. If you get water in these places and start your drone up, it will fry the board or motors. The whole drone must be disassembled and thoroughly dried out properly.

So, if your drone isn’t waterproof, don’t use a water hose to try and rescue it! Pack that garden hose up and put it away!!

Don’t Use Another Drone to Rescue Your Drone

Don't use a drone to try and rescue another drone

Using another drone sounds like a great idea at first but could end up in a crap situation.

By now you would know how much your drone means to you, so why risk losing another drone in the same tree? Sure it may work, but there is a lot of risks involved including losing the 2nd one. Then there is a mission to save 2 drones.

Final Thoughts

Rescuing anything from a tree can be extremely risky so make sure that you have everything in place to eliminate any hazard you may have.

The easiest way to prevent losing a drone in a tree is to ensure you have plenty of distance between the drone and trees especially if you are new to flying. Also, ensure you are flying to the recommended weather conditions as some of the smaller drones can easily drift away if the wind gusts are too strong.

Well, if you have come here for help getting your machine back I hope one of these tips worked for you.

Happy Flying!!

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