Iris+ RTL misshap (or how to frighten squirrels)

Still a bit new to the Iris+, and in all honesty, quads in general. I’ve got 5 flights in total on this one with zero problems, until this afternoon. (see, that there is what they call foreshadowing!)

Flying near my townhouses over an empty lot full of high grass that looks like a safe landing, and a couple tall trees WAAAAAY off to the side. No danger at all right? Battery notification on the phone app said 30% so I figured hey, I haven’t tried return to home before, so lets see how close it gets (in the videos online, it seemed REALLY accurate). I’m not sure if there was sudden wind or it forgot where I was, but it shot SIDEWAYS at full speed (I’m not touching the sticks at this point) right into the very top of one of the trees.

Now, I’ve tried the tennis ball with a thin rope trick and my puny arms can’t manage the ~70-80ft height. Obviously a pole/ladder combo isn’t going to cut it, and while I hold my new drone near and dear, my flabby arse isn’t climbing anywhere near that high.

So… What to do… Really I’m at a bit of a loss. Its kind of sideways in the tree with the extended landing gear tied up nicely in the upper branches. I had thought to somehow power it out (the app does have an arm button, but that doesn’t seem to do anything), and at this point I can no longer see the orientation lights so I’m guessing the battery is drained.

When (or if) I can somehow manage to get the iris back, are there steps to be taken in order to salvage what survives the fall, and in the future avoid this situation?

If anyone has any other tips or tricks for safe(ish) quadcopter rescue that would be a great help. Its not supposed to rain until Tuesday, but winds are also not expected to be more than 9mph before then either, so I don’t think its going to work its way loose on its own.

here you go… go fishing :slight_smile:

also commercial line throwers using a slingshot can sometimes be found at ham supplies,
crossbow with a fishing line throwing a lead weight on the end is also a possibility.


Excellent idea! I’ve always wanted a slingshot like Dennis the Mennace. Looks like nice weather today for drone fishing too!

Lacrosse stick. With a little practice you should be able to manage 60 to 80 feet.

Or call a tree service. They usually have some guys that will climb for you. Better chance of getting it down without it falling as far and getting damaged. Expensive, but not compared to cost/hassle of fixing a broken Iris.

Launch point home is supposed to be where you arm it. If you fly with a GS like Tower or on a laptop you can see where it thinks the home point is. Personally, I don’t use RTL. Or if I do I’m ready to flip the switch back into loiter/alt hold.

Got it down with a slingshot, 50lb fishing line and 1.5oz weight, enough to pull a sturdy rope up onto a branch close enough to swing it back and forth for half an hour till it finally came loose. Hit lots of stuff on the way down but the last 30 ft or so is clear and managed to snap a leg in half and fold a prop over.

Now, the issue seems to be the battery. When connected to the charger it just flashes green which means it’s “ready to charge”… so it isn’t seeing the battery at all. guess a 2nd backup will go on my order list if I can figure out what else might be busted.

Any idea on what went wrong?

Great tips on UAV recovery from trees, guys. As for frightening squirrels, I prefer to deploy my RC battle tank with airsoft cannon. The squirrels come to try to get into the bird feeder on my deck where I have the tank parked waiting. It is hilarious. I am also going to set one of my toy quadcopters out there one of these days and wait for the squirrels. I bet that thing will scare them off in a heartbeat.

Hi factor
Back to what went wrong in the first place. You might want to read and think about the flight mode descriptions here: … ght-modes/
Specifically, Loiter, Land and RTL modes all rely on GPS for holding horizontal position. A “GPS glitch” can cause strange and erratic behavior and there are glitch parameters that can be used to limit that effect. Also if you lose GPS suddenly YOU ARE IN CHARGE of horizontal position so always be ready, particularly if you are in close quarters and/or there is a wind. Unfortunately, if you are flying with a tablet and have put your TX down you can be in trouble before you can react. I have fixed my tablet to my transmitter with a mounting bracket so the TX is always available for backup. That rig gets heavy sometimes so I tend to just go with the TX most of the time. Also, I am having loads of fun learning to fly in stabilize mode. For an old codger like me that is a challenge, I am prone to crossed thumbs syndrome :stuck_out_tongue: .