I have never had a major crash (except some stupid nosedives) until today.

After the first waypoint ArduPilot suddenly decided my EasyStar was to high, and before I could recover control it disappeared behind some tress.
It was quit a loud bang when it hit, whatever it hit.

Lucky it wasn't dead, so I could track the plane from the sound of the engine.

So after walking about half a mile I found it neatly placed about 50 feet into the air, utmost on a branch:



First I climbed a ladder halfway up into the tree, and tried to free climb, but I just could not reach it.

I work as a linesman (I believe Americans call it that? Climbing in poles and maintaining the electric grid and so on.). So I drove all the way to work and back (1 hour drive) to get my climbing gear, some rope and a chainsaw.


Then I had to climb the neighbouring tree, and from there I tried to throw a rope around the branch the plane was wedged in. Finally, after almost an hour high above the ground I got it down.

Luckily I didn't need to use the chainsaw, which I would. Leaving the plane was not an option, even if the falling tree would have crushed it.



Amazingly, there are some minor dents here and there, but that's the only damage. The tail section has come a bit loose, but some glue and she is up flying again.


So, it turns out my major crash wasn't so major after all, only a lot of work and sweat.

Views: 638

3D Robotics
Comment by Chris Anderson on August 17, 2011 at 10:42am
Is that original (legacy) ArduPilot?
Comment by Peter-Hans de Zwarte on August 17, 2011 at 11:51am

Yes it is, but this is not to blame on the ArduPilot.

It's just me trying and failing with the code and config tool to get it working properly.

It seems like the radius setting was sett far to high because it was in meters, and not feet. (60 m)

That made it miss WP 2, and for some king of reason dive, I guess where the plane hit the tree it was about 200 feet from the WP it should hit.

Comment by Ben Levitt on August 17, 2011 at 1:07pm

I'm glad you got your plane back!


After a similar adventure of my own, I now keep a ~60m long thin rope in my car with a ~2lb rock tied to the end of it.  This contraption has saved 2 planes and 1 aerobie from medium-tall trees.  :)


(And when I ran into the sad college students with their new aerobie up in a tree in a shopping center parking lot, and I offered to use my rock-on-a-string to help get it down, they were pretty impressed, excited, and confused about why I had this sitting in my car, ready to go.)

Comment by Dr Mike Black on August 17, 2011 at 2:30pm

Dont know guys, but today (also 2 flights yesterday) in our tests, 5 flights, altitude was all over the place, 2nd flight it climbed to 1300 feet, 4th flight, on Auto it dived and raced across our field at shoulder height.

All flights were very screwy on Alt.


also using AP1..Ublox

Solar Flair?, GPS weirdness?

Tracking was perfect but alt all over the place...not something we have ever experienced until yesterday today (2 diff Ublox's used)


Anomaly? Synchronicity? 2012 syndrome?


Odd anyway..

Glad you got your back!





3D Robotics
Comment by Chris Anderson on August 17, 2011 at 2:51pm
All of you: upgrade to APM! A proper pressure sensor will avoid funky GPS altitude glitches ;-)
Comment by DaveyWaveyBunsenBurner on August 17, 2011 at 3:00pm

Whats the default APM config these days? Baro was disabled by default in 1.x I believe. Is it now 50/50 by default or still GPS? Cant get to the code at he moment.

Comment by Dano on August 17, 2011 at 3:31pm
GPS is known for the altitude to wander off, sometimes by a large margin (100ft is common, 100m is not unheard of). Never rely only on GPS for altitude.
Comment by Heino R. Pull on August 17, 2011 at 8:40pm
I'm proof of this. My first Ardupilot flight 2 years ago with only an EM406 GPS. Advance the video to 7:49 and see my Easystar find a single tree in the middle of a large field.
Comment by Alpo Hassinen on August 17, 2011 at 10:35pm

Here is one way to get plane from tree :-)

Comment by Peter-Hans de Zwarte on August 18, 2011 at 12:38am

Haha, nice one Alpo!


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