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Saturday, June 23, 2007

Trees

Trees attract balsa. Even if there is only one tree around, you can guarantee that your model will end up in its highest branches. Here are some tips for recovering your work from the clutches of a "balsa magnet" otherwise known as a "tree":
  • Don't fly where there are trees!
  • It is not worth risking your life to get it down, even if did take a long time to build. This means: do not try to climb the tree
  • Watch the model carefully. Binoculars are useful. Note where the model landed - not just which tree, but where in the tree
  • For lower level stuff, use a 6m telescopic fishing pole. In England, these are called a "whip". Buy from eBay or online for just a few pounds. Put some white tape at the end, so you can see the tip. Use it gently, or you may put a hole in the wing!
  • For higher level stuff, use the ball and line method. This involves looping strong fishing line over the correct branch, taking hold of both ends and shaking until the model falls out. To get the line up there, attach a weight to it. A heavy-ish ball the size of a tennis ball is good, because you need to be able to throw it accurately. Throw it as close as you dare to the model over the branch that it is snagged on. The fishing line should be heavy duty (at least 10kg (approx. 20lb) strength). Attaching the line with loads of plastic parcel tape to a tennis ball can work fine. I used it to get a plane down from the tree in the photos here..
The plane was stuck just next to the ball that you can see here. It was at about 10m high. This is a lovely oak tree. However, we got down eventually, with no harm to tree or any person. I'm afraid, a ball was left behind, but it did fall out later.

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