How to get an airplane out of a tree

I successfully retrieved my Liebelle glider from the top of a 30 foot tall tree. I recommend this method over pulling the plane down through the tree with string.

Here are the supplies:

  1. Extendable painter’s pole (23 foot available at Homedepot)
  2. A tall drinking cup to capture the glider’s forward fuselage
  3. Duct tape to connect the mug to the pole
  4. A helper to grab the plane off the pole

The requirements were specific. I didn’t want to destroy the plane. The tree was too small to climb; the plane was in the top branch. The solution was to lift the plane out vertically with the pole.


Maneuvering the pole to connect the fuselage into the cup



Lifting the plane



Lessons learned:

  1. Some fields are even too small for 1.1 meter DLG flying
  2. My distance/height estimation was not tuned to a 1.1 meter glider. I flew it directly into a tree… CFIT (controlled flight into terrain tree)
  3. Maneuvering a 8 to 24 foot pole up through tree limbs is not easy. I was lucky to have a small and sparsely branched tree.
  4. Lifting the plane once connected was trivial and easy.
  5. My helper was useful to support the pole and plane on the descent. This become necessary once the pole was angled.
  6. Non destructive tree retrieval is feasible