I rescued a Parrot AR.Drone with my Phantom

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I was out practicing this morning when a guy approached me and asked about my Phantom. He said he had been flying a brand new Parrot yesterday and got it stuck about 50 or 60 feet up in a nearby tree.

I walked over with him to take a look. He had a piece of PVC pipe but it wasn’t nearly long enough to reach the branch the Parrot was caught on. A few months ago, a friend of mine had gotten his Phantom stuck two trees over and about 20 feet higher. He called a tree service and paid $150 to get his Phantom back. I suggested the Parrot guy do the same.

About 20 minutes later, I saw him tossing a heavy bolt, attached to a string, up towards the stuck Parrot. I walked over to observe. After watching a few throws, I was confident I could loop the string over the branch with my Phantom. He had 100 feet of clothesline, along with about 70 feet of a lighter string, which we knotted to make one long string.

I tied one end to my landing gear and did a few practice lifts with the weight of the line. The plan was to go straight up, then forward over the branch holding the parrot, and then straight down to a hand-catch in the parking lot on the other side of the trees.

There was a bit of a breeze causing the string and Phantom to drift, but it was manageable. The first attempt resulted in a good loop, but on the wrong branch. The second attempt won the gold medal.

After landing and detaching the Phantom and with both ends of the line in hand, he was able to shake the branch until the fell Parrot down to earth. He even hand-caught the Parrot before it hit the deck.

I wish MoonJet was wearing her GoPro, but I was able to get a few stills with my iPhone. His wife made a video with her phone and I’m waiting for her to send it to me. In the meantime, here are the photos.
 

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gunslinger

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Awesome... I love reading stories like this. Cross platform co-operation. You took a chance... as you could have put your Phantom in jeopardy with one wrong move... Very happy that it worked out perfectly for all parties, and kudos to you for getting involved and taking a chance...

Cool beans...

-slinger
 
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Here is another epic drone rescue video, jump to 05:00 if you're in a hurry ;)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qV_uzwayEPU[/youtube]
 
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"one wrong move..."

I was so conscious of that while the Phantom was up there. This was the second drone I saw captured by this line of pine trees.

I was paranoid about being the third. The breeze was pulling the string which was pulling the Phantom, so at one point on the second flight, I totally backed off, cleaned up my approach and brought her in again. I flew two practice flights prior to the two actual attempts, just to get a feel for the weight and pull of the line.

Also, a note on Prop Guards - From my perspective 50 feet below, Mister Parrot would probably have not gotten stuck if he left his foam prop guard attachment at home.
 
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@Helveticus - I've seen that video before and was telling Parrot guy about it. The fact I'd seen it done before was definitely an encouraging factor.
 
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Helveticus said:
Here is another epic drone rescue video, jump to 05:00 if you're in a hurry ;)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qV_uzwayEPU[/youtube]

This dude has become rather famous for his well-documented castle top rescue --- gonna be hard for anyone to top it.

:mrgreen:
 
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Would be handy to have a servo controlled latch or something on the phantom... then could just connect a hook or something to the object and pull it free... I've been approached by other disc golfers who know about my quads to retrieve discs stuck on rooves or in trees etc...
 
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Would be handy to have a servo controlled latch or something on the phantom... then could just connect a hook or something to the object and pull it free... I've been approached by other disc golfers who know about my quads to retrieve discs stuck on roof or in trees etc...

Yes, I think there's an opportunity for someone to invent a clever latch mechanism that could be quickly attached to the landing gear behind the gimbal for those occasions you need to drop something like a string with a weight, hook or cellphone! What fun to rescue someone in need. This sounds simple to invent, using a separate low cost radio and servo arrangement. Here's an opportunity waiting to be seized.
 
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Quadcopters and drones are trees favorite food. Don't you know!!
 
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