Did you just get a brand new RC plane and take it out for a test run only to get it stuck in a tree? Don’t panic. People face this issue all of the time and fixing it isn’t incredibly difficult. For some reason it seems like trees and planes are attracted to each other like magnets.
If you face this problem with your new shiny RC plane or an old one, don’t panic. There are many tricks you can use to get your RC plane out of a tree.
In this article we will discuss some of the best ways to get your RC plane out of the tree without damaging or destroying it.
Best ways to get your RC plane out of a tree
There are a few different things you can try and depending on what you have available and your skill level it will determine which method is best for you.
Climb the Tree
Before doing anything, first check and see exactly where the plane is located in the tree. You will want to see its position, height and what type of tree it is in. After checking all of these things if you’re sure the tree is easily climbable then you can head on up. Climbing a tree to get your RC plane is the best way to get it down without damaging it. Of course that is assuming that you know how to climb a tree and aren’t afraid of heights.
Before you begin climbing make sure that the RC plane is low enough for you to be able to reach it. Since RC planes are able to fly much higher than the average person can climb a tree you might not be able to climb as high as the plane is. Some trees have a ton of branches and leaves which makes climbing them difficult if not impossible.
When in doubt, don’t try to climb the tree because there are always other ways for you to try.
If you are confident that you can climb the tree and reach the plane without too much difficulty then you will want to take a rope or heavy string up with you as you will want to lower the plane to the ground before you start climbing back down to ensure that you don’t damage it while you are climbing down.
Use a Ladder
If you are lucky enough to have a ladder with you or to have the plane in a relatively low branch then using a ladder is probably the easiest way for most people to get the plane down. If your RC Plane is stuck above 50-60 feet then this method won’t work very well as most ladders won’t be longer than that.
If your plane is stuck in a location that you can get to (like 10-20 feet up) then you can use a ladder because it is safer than just climbing the tree free hand. Before using a ladder it is always a good idea to make sure there is someone to watch and help hold the ladder steady and keep it from moving.
If you are using a ladder that is leaned up against the tree it is also a good idea to secure it to the tree as a wrong movement could cause the top to slide off the tree and there will be nothing that you can do but hold on.
A large step ladder is a good option since it won’t be leaning up against the tree but you can still get quite a ways up with it.
Get a Lift
If the previous method won’t work with where the plane is at or the slope of the ground then there is another easy method for you and that is using a lift. I’m sure you have seen these lifts before that are used to cut down trees, work on power lines, and more.
Of course these lifts don’t come cheap and unless you already own one or know someone who does then you will have to rent it by the hour or by the day. Renting a lift can cost a few hundred dollars a day so this is far from a cheap option!
Using a lift might be easy but it is far from a cheap option and unless your plane is very expensive it might be cheaper to just go buy a new one than to rent a lift!
Using a fishing line is another great way to try and get your plane down and is one of the cheapest options there is. Use a weight on the fishing line and throw it over the branch. You will then just pull or bounce the line to hopefully shake the plane loose.
Of course the plane could be damaged when falling from the tree so if you are trying this method it is a good idea to have a few people around to try and catch the plane when it falls. You could even use a blanket held by four people to catch it to keep the damage as minimal as possible.
Knock it out
If your plane is really high up in the tree this might be the only option that you have. By knocking it out I simply mean throwing something like a baseball, football, etc. at the RC plane to knock it out of the tree.
This method can damage your plane when it gets hit by the ball or object so it is a good idea to use this as a last resort. Again, when the plane falls it is likely to get damaged so having some friends try to catch it with a large blanket is a good idea.
One person trying to catch the plane will likely damage it and get hurt so having a group of friends help is the best way to do it.
Bow and Arrow
Personally I don’t like this method because it can break your RC plane but I wanted to mention it to give you as many options as possible. Arrows hit with extreme force and RC planes are often made with foam or plastic so there is a chance that an arrow can break your RC plane entirely while you are trying to save it.
It also could be dangerous if you miss and hit someone else. If you have a blunt arrow that you can use to try and shoot an arrow tied to a rope over the top of the branch to try and shake the plane loose that would work out better than just shooting arrows trying to shoot down your plane.
By using a long pole you can try to poke the plane or even the branches near it get it to fall down. Of course this method will only work if the plane is close enough to the ground and you have a long enough pole.
Ok so this isn’t a popular method but if all else fails and you can’t seem to get your plane down then you certainly have the option of waiting until a strong wind shakes the plane loose from the tree.
Of course this will only work if the plane is in a tree on your property or at minimum on someone’s property who you know.
You can combine the pole with a ladder and get some extra height but it can be dangerous if the pole causes you to lose your balance.
Cut the branches
Before getting your RC plane out of a tree you need to see the position of the RC plane properly or have a clearer path to get to it. Some trees have a lot of branches and leaves which can make seeing or reaching your plane difficult. Before taking any steps you might need to clear a better path directly to the plane.
In that case, you might have to cut some branches off of the tree.
You can use an extendable tree pruner to cut your way to your RC plane. It is even possible that when moving and cutting those branches you dislodge the plane from the branch that it is currently stuck in.
Once you have made a clear and better path directly to your RC plane then you can choose any of the above methods according to your situation and position of your plane in the tree.
Should you cut down a tree to get your RC plane?
In most cases cutting down the tree to get your plane will get you nothing but a pile of wood on the ground and a smashed RC plane. If you are at the point of wanting to cut down the tree then it is a safe bet that the plane is pretty high up in it. At that height when you cut the tree down and it falls do you really think the RC plane in the top of it will survive?
When that tree falls over after being cut the branches and ground colliding will crush your plane anyway so all you have succeeded in doing is making more work for yourself.
What not to do
When anyone’s plane gets stuck in a tree the first thing that they will likely do is panic. You spent tons of money buying your plane and getting it up and running so of course you will be upset when it gets stuck.
However, panicking is never a good idea as all it does is make you upset and stop thinking clearly.
Suppose your RC plane is stuck 60 feet up in the tree, since you are panicking your first thought might be to throw a rock at it to try and get it down. Of course that is a bad idea and will likely end up with you damaging your plane if you do end up hitting it or at minimum damaging your plane when it falls off because you haven’t prepared for the next step.
Panicking over your plane being stuck does nothing but cause issues so if you find yourself with a plane that is stuck in a tree take time to calm down and assess which of the above options will work best for your situation.
If you want to see how some other people have gotten their RC plane down from a tree then check out the video below.