Rocket in tree. Any advice?

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Oct 10, 2004
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This is my first post on the Rocketry Forum. Does anyone here have any advice on getting a rocket out of a tree? Its about 35 to 40 feet up. I really want it back, its a Loc/Precision Forte kit with a reloadable motor in it. Stuck on the second flight. Took off great on an F40-7. Just kept going though. It was calm on the ground. Any tips, thanks!
Well, pool poles work best...if you know anyone with a pool pole.
Welcome to the forum :)

There is several ways to get it out - use a telescoping pole with a hook around the end. Check to see if your club has one. If you are flying solo, then you might not have one. Another trick that takes a lot of practice is rock and fishing line. This only works if there is a shock cord laying horizontal to throw the line over. The other thing is time... The rocket will eventually come down. The longest I waited for a reloadable to come out of a tree was two years... but I flinally got it.

The suject of poles has been heavily discused in the thread Interesting Magnum Flight, where I treed my heavily modified LOC Magnum with electronics and three motor cases. I got it down using a pole.

I got my Extreme Performer stuck at the top of an 80' tree. I climbed it and got it back. I'm not losing my altimeter and RMS hardware.
Originally posted by rabidsheeep
we should make a thread for just tree shots:

Yeah, everybody has one.

SpongeBob cone rocket. It was knocked down with a backhoe. Unfortunately it was buried under about 700 yards of gravel.
Depending on how much damage you are willing to suffer/repair, you could try a paint ball gun. I've heard of RC planes being shot from trees with them.
We are glad you joined in here, and hope that you won't wait for the next bird-in-a-tree before you contribute
The retrieval problem you have has been discussed here on TRF before----maybe you can find some more tips using a search. I think Micromeister has used a spin-casting rig with a lead weight tied on the end to allow him to take multiple 'shots' at his treed rockets.
I don't think I have ever heard of a pool pole that extends to 40 feet.
Another thing you might try is some cheap PVC pipe. The stuff comes in handy 10-foot lengths. You would not have to actually glue the sections together, you could slip the couplers on and duct tape over the outsides to hold it temporarily. You would have to use some big pipe (inch-n-a-half? bigger?) because PVC is pretty weak and floppy in the smaller sizes.
I once used a 12 gauge with a super full turkey choke and #7 shot to cut the shock cord of a scratch Crayon. The rocket had already been destroyed by rain, but I got back my RMS.
Flyingiazzi is in the city park (probably where public display of guns is against the law, let alone actual DISCHARGE of a firearm), getting ready to try for the third or fourth time to dislodge his now-ventilated rocket from the treetop:

"Well Officer, it's like this . . "
time is your best friend. do not climb a tree....its a bad idea. i've had mishaps doing that, and they hurt. not fun. 40' aint too bad. i've used a paintball gun to shoot the parachute and it gradually came down, foot by foot, branch by branch, shot by shot. only damage was a couple shroud lines were snapped. just turn your velocity way down and fire away.
I got a fairly sympathetic tree trimmer to climb the tree for me. $20 I paid was a lot cheaper than my casing...
Good ideas, everyone. I'm not climbing, though. I tried shooting the shock cord (its in my back yard, I live in an 8 acre field in the country) with a 20 gauge magnum, superfull choke, and number 4's and 5's. That shock cord is tough! At least it has not rained yet. I guess I might pull out the 12 gauge magnum and continue blasting away. If that does not work, I just have to wait. And also, you will likely hear more from me; I won't wait for another rocket to land in a tree!
how long is your shock cord? at 40' with #4 that entire rocket would be LIT up. you probly got holes all in it. lol.
You used the wrong shot. Try number 7 or 8. More density in the pattern, and plenty of energy to cut a shock cord.

When I shot mine down, I didn't hit the rocket body even once. For those unfamiliar with shotguns, a device on the end of the barrel constricts the shot pattern. A cylinder bore barrel has no choke, and they range through modified, full and super or extra full. More choke for longer range targets. Fortunately I had used a 1 inch elastic cord and it was relatively easy to cut compared to tubular nylon or kevlar.
A pole saw (a long pole with a saw blade on the end) may be the way to go. Now at most parks, etc., the powers that be are going to take a pretty dim view if you start hacking away too much at the tree itself, so the better alternative is probably to slice away the shock cords and shroud lines, and just hope the rocket drops out.

Shock cords are easy to replace, it's the rocket itself you want to get back.

Needless to say the powers (parks dept. cops, etc.) that be are also likely to get rather steamed if they see you out there pole-sawing away at a tree in a public park without their prior knowledge and consent, so you definitely better call and check with the parks department first. If you tell them what you want to do and that you will take every effort not to damage the tree, they will usually be OK with it - in fact, depending if they're in a good mood or not, they might even help you out a bit.

If you really, really, really want to get the rocket back, here's a 21-foot pole saw... figure you're holding it at a height of about 5-7 feet, that means you could reach a rocket up to 28 feet in the air (which is pretty far up.)

But the pole saw costs $149, so unless you're losing a lot of rockets in the trees, I dunno...
I'm 2 and 1 with this method.
I don't remember where I bought it.
It is a small sandbag attached to poly rope, which is attached to a self righting chain saw type blade (about 18").
This is attached to another length of rope.
You toss the sandbag over the branch, center the blade over the branch and pull back and forth on the ropes till it falls.

Alternatively, find a kid who loves to climb trees.
They are out there.
Send the kid up with a rope.
When he/she gets close, the kid drops the rope and you tie a 'hook on a stick' to the rope.
The kid pulls up this device and grapples the rocket loose.

If you can't find a tree monkey, I'll rent you one.
Train fare and food - pork chops, macaroni with cheese and broccoli.
I might try #7 or 8 shot. The shock cord is about 12 ft long; it's all stretched out with the rocket hanging on it. So far, I have not hit the rocket itself. However, I know someone who loves to climb trees. He saw the first flight of this rocket and would be glad to climb 40 feet to get my rocket back. He lives quite aways away and might not be able to come for a week or two. What happens to a reloadable motor if it is not cleaned for a while?
Mine hung up there for a week or so and there was no permanent harm. Aside for being a little tougher to thoroughly clean, I don't think even several weeks will be too bad.
THis is kind of not realistic, but I just wanted to share. My dad has a friend who works for a major powerplant in NC, and he does the field work. Well he got us a "pogo stick" which is a 35' fiberglass pole they use for working on the power lines. Man, our club loves us now.:D
2 words. Rope and chainsaw.
The rope to lower the tree once you cut it. Use the trailer hitch on a car/truck to do this, not your buddies.
Originally posted by srtech
2 words. Rope and chainsaw.

That's sort of the catch, isn't it. Some people actually find it nice to have some of those big green things standing around. Some of us go waaay out of our way to plant them and nourish them and ecourage them to grow tall. My yard happens to be mostly solid rock, so it just about takes a miracle to get a tree going. I don't like joking about cutting down trees, even to save a rocket.

Very direct thinking, though. (2 points)

Any other USEFUL ideas?
Ok, not the greenest idea I'll admit, but down here, pine trees are the bane [bain?] of a rocketeers' existance. Not much open space that hasn't got a crop in it or has an owner that's impossible to find. And of course, I'd never cut down a tree I didn't own or had full permission to take, mostly due to shotguns.
I have used a fishing pole with a wire coat hanger tied to the end of the line. If you bend the coat hanger so each "arm" is a skinny hook, and the actual "hanger" is turned and bent down, it resembles a tri-corner hat only with hooks.:eek:
The weight of the hanger is usually enough weight to cast it quite high. It usually takes me a lot of tries but I have been successfull a surprising percentage of the time. Patience is a virtue (good aim is a better virtue!):p
If the shock cord was atached with the old elmer's glue and tri-fold paper deal, it will come apart in the rain eventually. I have recovered a number of rockets/parts of rockets this way.:cool:
Stymye, I shot an Estes rocket out of a tree with a BB gun before...worked on first shot.

Here is a pic of my Estes Big Daddy in a tree after boosting on an E18 Aerotech reload. After a year in the tree, and being weathered, I got the casing back when the tree released the booster :D
dang, one shot with a bb gun!... thats pretty good

I have a v2 at the manchester field I would like to atleast get the cones back... your welcome to bring the bb gun..and have a go at it :kill: