What's Your Best Airplane Retrieval Method - Stuck in a Tree

Chop down a tree to retrieve a stuck model airplane?


How To Get Your Plane Out of a Tree

It's bound to happen to you at some point. You are flying along and a tree just jumps right out in front of your airplane. You KNOW you were inside of it's path, but those dang trees have a sick sense of humor and love to play games with our planes. I think they have a competition between each other to see who can catch the most. It might have something to do with birds who fly in and poop on their branches. I'd be mad too, but now your plane is stuck in a tree and you can't just leave it there. What do you do?

I've seen various retrieval methods like long poles, climbing, slingshots, drones with lines, shotguns and throwing rocks. The video below takes it to a whole new level by cutting down the entire tree! Well that's one way to get your plane back. What have you seen or tried? Kudos if you have photos or video of the rescue mission.

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Feb 12, 2021, 09:51 AM
Registered User
It all depends on the tree.
On my property the trees are everywhere and they're tall.
When one of them grabs my plane I have two solutions.
Method one, grab my extension ladder and a long pole to climb as high as I can and push the plane out of the tree.
Method two is to cut the tree down.
Feb 12, 2021, 10:01 AM
Intermediate Multi
Trisquire's Avatar
Feb 12, 2021, 10:13 AM
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rrg's Avatar
Feb 12, 2021, 10:20 AM
Registered User
My neighbor's kid loves climbing the trees after I land in one. He's been bailing me out for ten years now. Never been defeated.

He would have easily got the one in the video.
Last edited by 5 oclock charlie; Feb 12, 2021 at 10:21 AM. Reason: Afterthought.
Feb 12, 2021, 11:23 AM
Registered User
When flying at the vacant (at the time) neighborhood youth soccer field, I flew my UMX P-51 into a tree next to the sideline.

All I had to do was wait for the afternoon game. I pointed out my plane to one of the teams, told them I had $10 for it's return, gave them my phone # and I walked home while kids kicked soccer balls into the tree. Thirty minutes later, I got the call. The ten bucks was very well received.
Feb 12, 2021, 12:41 PM
Lifetime Member
JohnM's Avatar
10 foot sections of pvc pipe
Feb 12, 2021, 01:03 PM
Registered User
perttime's Avatar
I havent had very smooth and successful retrievals....
- Got a fishing line over a foamy - and the line cut the tail off. Steel pushrod had enough resistance to pull the foamy down.
- waited about 3 weeks until the twig that was wrapped around the prop shaft broke.
Feb 12, 2021, 02:07 PM
Site Aspie
Lynxman's Avatar
I tried climbing a tree as an adult. Not as easy as when I was a kid. What happened?
Latest blog entry: EL-39 compilation video
Feb 12, 2021, 04:17 PM
Registered User
Golf ball retriever. Mine has a basket that will snag a wheel. A lead weight on a string is not very effective and dangerous. A friend has asked tree trimmers to do it. They usually will, but slip them a few bucks.
Feb 12, 2021, 04:30 PM
IMO ( In My Opinion ) →
balsa or carbon's Avatar
Helicopter Rescues RC Plane From Top of 60 Foot Tall Tree (6 min 15 sec)
Feb 12, 2021, 04:49 PM
MICKEL's Avatar
Back in the day 10' pvc lengths were stashed at the tree line of the electric site.

But the one that we typically employed was to toss a water bottle filled ~ 25-33% with any weight substance; mason's twine was tied to bottle's neck and bottle then tossed over the hostage-holding branch.

Allow bottle to fall back to terra firma, (now you have string on both sides of the bad branch) attach rope to string and pull both (back) over branch & (rope) back to Earth. (2 ends of rope should now be touching the ground and grab-ready)

Once rope is tugged on by 2 bad hombres (1 from each side of branch if possible) the plane usually falls free. Or the branch succumbs.... Flying it on the way down for a smooth landing earned you bonus points.
Last edited by MICKEL; Feb 12, 2021 at 04:56 PM.
Feb 12, 2021, 04:58 PM
Flying a Falcon or a 3D model.
fauconnier's Avatar
I climb as high as I can then I use my 15 feet flexible chimney brush rods. Then I until the is down.
Last edited by fauconnier; Feb 12, 2021 at 05:03 PM.
Feb 12, 2021, 05:37 PM
Registered User
smithdoor's Avatar
The last time I had a model in tree was in 1960's.
I a swimming pool brush.
It work but the model did need repairs after fall out tree.
I thing a swimming pool net/skimmer would work better.
The best way keep away from trees.

If you think this only model aircraft where I live Sierra Nevada mountains you find full size aircraft stuck in trees try for pilot opening opening the looking 100 foot down.
This is why this is call the Nevada Triangle aircraft disappear in trees.

Feb 12, 2021, 05:49 PM
Registered User
I know we all have our ways, some very creative and interesting, of getting our planes down.

But on a serious and safety note, I would not encourage ANYBODY to go climb a tree. Is a model airplane worth paralysis or death from a fall? If you pay a kid to go get it and he/she falls and get hurt (or dies), you will probably in deeper trouble than having to just ignore it and go buy a new plane.

Not trying to be a Karen or Debbie Downer but when you know someone who climbed a tree trying to retrieve a plane that wasn't even that high up, fall and died a few days later, you tend to think differently afterwards.

Now carry on with the creative methods...

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