So my Fimi X8 SE 2020 quadcopter became stuck up a tree a couple of days ago and there was some urgency getting it back down again because we are expecting thunderstorms tomorrow and continuing wet weather on Sunday. So after thinking about it I went ahead and ordered a ‘starter’ archery set comprising a 60″ bow and a set of three or four arrows, I’ve forgotten exactly what the ad said.
My idea was to fire an arrow up into the tree with eg a fishing line attached to it which could be used to pull up a rope with which to shake the tree branch and release the Fimi. However, the next day (yesterday) I came across a super video on Youtube that showed how to build a simple device to perform the same job much more elegantly, it seemed to me, and more cheaply also.
So although I couldn’t now cancel the bow order, I ordered some of the required items from the internet yesterday (a metre of surgical tubing and a cheap-as-chips fixed spool fishing reel and line) and picked up the remainder (2 metres of 25mm PVC waste pipe, 2.4 metres of thin wooden dowel, some rope and some strong cord) from Brico Depot while I was there buying some tubing and connectors with which to install the water heaters that I have ready to go into my caravan.
I was all ready to make a start by lunch time, so took another quick look at the Youtube video to take notes on the method of construction and within half an hour had my quadcopter retrieval device all ready to go. I took a couple of practice shots just with an arrow and no fishing line attached and was amazed by its power and then with the fishing line attached to the arrow it was time to move to the next phase.
I’m not an angler and have never used a fixed spool fishing reel before and it took me a while to find out how it worked and how not to end up with bundles of fishing line entwined around my feet. Once I’d mastered that (not well enough but it got better and I only ended up wasting a couple of small bundles of line) it was time to use the device in earnest. The first shot went off like a damp squib but I put that down as just being part of the learning curve, reeled everything back in, re-attached the fishing line that had pulled off and had another go.
It took several attempts maybe around seven or eight, but less than ten, before I managed to place the arrow in about the right place in the oak tree relative to where the Fimi was stuck and see it come back to earth with the fishing line still attached to it. It had gone too far, into the next tree, but at its highest point seemed to be positioned about right and yanking on it did move the small branch on which the Fimi was perched.
So I carefully removed the arrow, attached a length of the string followed by the end of the rope and then went back to the fishing reel end and began carefully reeling in the line as though I was trying to land a large fish. The line got stuck a couple of times so I had to release the tension and give the rope a shake in the hope that that would allow it to clear whatever the obstruction was and lo and behold, eventually the end of the rope appeared up in the canopy of the oak.
After a few more moments of reeling, the rope was almost in reach. But not quite. If I had continued reeling away, it would have raised the other end of the rope until it was out of my reach. The rope was too short and I needed to find a way of lengthening it. Trouble is, the only other rope I have is in store but when I looked in the back of my car I found an old length about a metre long and some cord. I joined those together and attached them to the other end of the rope and went back to reeling.
To cut a long story short, with the extra I was just able to reach both ends at the same time but was unable to pull on them together, so I tied the loose end round a tree trunk and went back to vigorously pulling the other from a position from where I could see what was happening to the Fimi. And here’s what happened.
Whoever came up with the idea for this device was a genius because after taking just a few attempts to get the arrow on target, it worked like a charm. After just a few shakes of the branch, my Fimi was released and came tumbling down to the ground. I’d hoped to catch it if it did, was just unable to do so but did manage to break its fall on landing. With the tree still being in full leaf (part of the reason why the Fimi was trapped in the first place) it suffered no ill effects on the way down and having had its fall broken, it landed in quite soft grass. And I’m glad to say that a quick test (quick mainly because it was beginning to get fairly dark) revealed that it seems to be absolutely no worse for wear after its experiences and being left out up a tree for two nights.
Here’s a shot showing the rope still in place after the Fimi had been recovered that gives an idea of the height at which it had been trapped – I’d estimate something like 15 metres up, perhaps even more.
So all’s well that ends well, as we say. Trouble now is that I’ve got a brand new bow and arrow set arriving tomorrow. I just knew that would happen. I don’t see myself as an archer and don’t really have any interest in it, so the kit will possibly be a candidate for Le Bon Coin? Maybe…
Typing this at 9.30 am the next morning (Saturday) and the rain has arrived early. We’re expecting possible thunderstorms this afternoon but we’ve just had quite an intense shower lasting about ten minutes or so that was quite unforeseen. So how lucky was that, then, that I managed to get my Fimi out of the oak tree yesterday evening. It would have received quite a soaking if it had still been up there and I suspect the outcome would have been completely different and far less favourable.