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Trees are the enemy!

Hi all!

First, a quick introduction. I am new to the hobby, and found the site whilst looking for reviews of the Parrot AR Drone, but got distracted by all the other episodes, and decided that I'd quite like to have a go with a regular RC plane. After much thinking and going back and forth between the Hobby Zone Champ, Super Cub and Glasair Sportsman, I finally decided on the Champ, and picked one up yesterday.

All charged up and checked this morning, so I set out for my maiden flight. I went to a suitable location with lots of space, checked the wind, and launched for my first flight! Things got off to a good start, as I managed to do a couple of circuits, and even managed to bring it down for a 'landing' of sorts - it wasn't pretty, the Champ nosed over, but it was on the ground and nothing was broken. As Josh Scott would say, "Any landing...".

Flushed with my success, I set off on another flight... Flew a couple of small circuits, then things started to go wrong... The wind picked up a bit, so I thought I better bring the Champ down. However, as is often the case, ambition exceeded skill levels, and I ended up getting a bit close to a tree. So close, that the Champ hit some branches, and was stuck! Minus the right wing, which fluttered down to the ground. Oh dear. Things were made worse by the fact that the branch it was in was about 25 feet from the ground, and there were no low branches, so no possibility of climbing up to get it. Fortunately, I managed to get someone to bring some bamboo gardening poles and some tape, strapped five or six poles together, and poked the Champ out of its perch. Sadly, it fell nose first and broke the prop. At least they are cheap to replace, I might get a few to cover future mishaps.

Despite the disastrous end to my (and the Champ's) maiden flight, I'm not put off flying again. When things were working, they seemed to be going ok. However, I've learned a couple of important lessons:

1) When learning, if possible, use the low rates. I'd read about this in the manual, but forgot to switch from high to low before flying.

2) Trees are the enemy!

Fortunately, the Champ appears to be easy to repair, so once I've got some suitable glue (is epoxy glue ok? It's easily available), I'll get the wing back on, set low rates and have another go. Well away from any trees!
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Senior Member
Instead of repairing the wing why not just replace the whole wing. They aren't that expensive and you will get a better repair. Here's a pic of my Champ up a tree, took 4 days to get it down.


Senior Member
There is a cedar on the edge of my flying field that is officially a plane eating tree. It was the bane of my new flying existence.


I thought the ground was the enemy, now I have to worry about trees too. Glad you got your plane back and in repairable condition.
Con, how high was that? I think mine was about 25 feet up, but yours looks a lot higher! As for the new wing, I had thought about that, if I can find one in stock in the UK, that might be a good idea.


Senior Member
Dave, My first attempt at getting it down was using 5 x 2.4m lengths of electrical conduit fitted together (that's about 39 feet) and it was way too bendy and also a little short. I stiffened the whole lot up by filling the conduit with that spray polyurethane foam in a can. I then stood on a ladder with a hook on the pole and managed to shake to plane loose in bits. I still don't know what became of the elevator and rudder. All fixed now and flies almost like new.


Senior Member
digitaldave, sorry about your crash. Add this to the tree-advice-list:

3. Depth perception accuracy is inversely proportional to the distance.

I really liked that A5... =(
You'll never stuck plane in a tree with LOS as well as you will when flying FPV..
First I have to find the tree, then see its 130ft high, then wait for bad weather, and hope its blown out and laying on the ground..

And I've mange to hung up planes in some odd places.. Thing is, I want to go see whats up there, thats what makes FPV so wonderfull, currently have a nice plane stuck 100m from home 30m high.. Caused by a 3sec lost of signal, flying blind for 3 seconds is a long time, a very long time...


Junior Member
Things needed for a successful RC Plane Tree Rescue:

Fishing Pole - Practice casting your arc in a safe place before deployment
Nylon String - Attach to the fishing line once succesful deployment has been attained
Binoculars- For those pesky HIGH UP situations that are hard to see
Golf Balls- Good form of weight that slips between branches nicely, and is easy to cast

Unfortunately i'm an expert on this topic :rolleyes:. Most recently while staring at my plane that was resting high up in a tree, I came into the house to take a break and try and Google my way out of it. I don't have a slingshot like so many people use for this method, but thought it was a good idea and was going to get one in the morning. Earlier I had tried a 40ft extension ladder but didn't have the nerve to climb off of it fully extended in order to ascend up the tree to get my plane. I took some golf balls and drilled holes in them and practiced casting the arc I would need to reach the branch until I felt confident. After a few try's BINGO! a perfect shot right over the effected branch. Then as the golf ball sank to the ground I attached some nylon string to the line and pulled it through so I had both ends, and was able to get some good leverage on the branch and shake my baby back home. I'll bet the slingshot would be much more accurate and easier, but this method has gotten me down from three tree's so far (the forth one I had to cut down with my ax :) )

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My friends and I have had success duct taping three 15 foot telescoping poles together and knocking the plane out of the tree. It was rather comical, but worked!
I read somewhere that all vertical structures (like trees and poles) channel energy from the earth like an upright magnet for foam. Be it
gravity, magnetism, or static cling all my planes have dings due to these upright killers.
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