The Terminology of Drones: A Quick Reference Guide That You Should Know

As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases. This means that if a reader clicks on a link or an image of the product, we may receive a commission. There is no additional cost to you — it helps pay for hosting and server costs. And it does not affect the quality of the content, as we always recommend our readers the best sources.

There is, by all accounts, a lot of terms out there in the automaton industry that may bewilder the novice drone pilot. That is why we have put together a rundown of terms with definitions (a short word reference). Hopefully, this drone glossary helps you.

Drone Glossary


2.4 GHz Drone Frequency: The drone frequency that transfers data at a more extended distance than 5.8 GHz yet at slower speeds. 

5.8 GHz Drone Frequency: The drone frequency that transfers data more quickly yet at a shorter distance.


Above Ground Level (AGL): Height that a drone is hovering over the ground level.

Accelerometer: A gadget that measures directional acceleration; employed to stabilize quadcopters.

Acro Mode: Also called rate mode and manual mode. Instead of automatically leveling the aircraft, this mode requires the pilot to make constant adjustments to stay away from losing control of their drone.

Aerial Photography (AP): Known as the taking of photos from flying items such as an airplane.

Aircraft: A gadget that is utilized or expected to be utilized for aloft flight.

Air Traffic Control (ATC): A service offered by ground-based air traffic controllers (for example, FAA in the USA) who direct the protected and organized progression of air traffic.

Air Traffic Management (ATM): The collection of the airborne capacities, as well as ground-based accommodations (air traffic flow management, airspace management, and air traffic services), needed to guarantee the protected and proficient movement of the airplane during all periods of tasks. 

All Up Weight (AUW): All-out weight of the quadcopter inclusive of parts such as a battery.

Almost Ready To Fly (ARTF): Once in a while otherwise called ARA – Known as a drone bundle consists of everything except that it may ask for individual assembly. Typically implies that the receiver is excluded. 

Altitude Hold (AH): The drone’s height maintenance by utilizing a Barometric Altimeter sensor. 

Atti Mode: It is short for Attitude Mode, in which the UAV will keep up a particular altitude yet not position. This implies the automaton will keep up its height while the pilot should continually adjust for the position maintenance.

Auto Leveling: A flight mode that enables the drone to perform even flight.  

Autonomous Aircraft: An automated airplane which does not enable intervention of the pilot in the flight management. It is unmanned aircraft (UA)’s subcategory.

Autonomous Operation: An activity that involves an airplane piloted remotely is working without the intervention of the pilot in the flight management.

Autonomous Flight: UAV flight controlled by internal programming, that directs the aircraft vehicle where to fly. 


Barometric Altimeter (BARO): A height measurement sensor that utilizes barometric pressure.

Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS): The capacity to run an uncrewed airplane beyond the pilot’s line of sight.

Bind: A process to link the UAV to the controller.

Bind and Fly (BNF): These items have all you require but the transmitter for the drone control. Thanks to them, you have the choice to utilize your preferable transmitter and then bind it to the drone’s receiver.

Bluetooth: A remote innovation standard for information exchanging across short separations (utilizing ultra high frequency radio waves in the 2.4-to-2.485-GHz ISM band) from mobile and fixed gadgets, and developing Personal AreaNetworks. 

Bootloader: A code put away in non-volatile memory in the microprocessor with the ability to interface with a computer for downloading the program of a user.

Brushless Motor: Comes with permanent magnets that turn around a stationary armature disposing of issues related with connection current to the rotating part. It is undeniably more effective and lasts longer when compared to brushed engines.


Center of Gravity (CoG or CG): The drone’s average centre balance point.

Certificate of Authorization (COA): A waiver that the FAA issues. It permits a public operator to perform particular UAS operations.

Commercial Drones: A UAS constructed for heavy application with a specific purpose in mind – for instance, professional cinematography and package delivery. 

Controlled Airspace: Airspace of defined dimensions that ATC services are offered.

Collision Avoidance: A system that keeps pilots from flying into fixed objects like trees and other aircraft.

Controller: A handheld gadget that controls the drone using radio signals.


Dà-Jiāng Innovations (DJI): One of the largest manufacturers of UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) and is located in Shenzhen China.

Detect and Avoid (DAA or D & A): The ability to see, detect or identify different dangers such as conflicting traffic and make the suitable move to agree to the appropriate guidelines of flight. 

DJI Flight Modes:

  • Sports Mode (also, S Mode) that lets the DJI model fly and maneuver twice as quickly as usual.
  • P Mode as the standard mode of flight that many pilots use. 
  • A Mode/ Atti Mode

Drone: The term employed to describe UAVs.

Dronie: A self video or self-portrait captured utilizing a camera drone.

DSMX / DSM2 / DSM: As a reliable RC equipment producer, Spektrum alludes to its proprietary innovation as “Digital Spectrum Modulation.” The transmitter comes with a GUID (short for Globally Unique Identifier) that receivers will be able to be bound to, thus guaranteeing that none of the transmitters will interfere with other close-by the DSM systems of Spektrum. DSM leverages DSSS (Direct-Sequence Spread Spectrum) innovation. 

DSSS: Short for Direct-Sequence Spread Spectrum; this is a modulation method. Similar to other spread spectrum innovations, the transmitted signal uses more bandwidth when compared to the info signal which tweaks the broadcast or carrier frequency. By “spread spectrum”, we mean the way that the carrier signals happen across the full bandwidth of a gadget’s transmitting frequency.


Electrically Erasable Programmable Read Only Memory (E2PROM or EEPROM): A kind of non- volatile memory PCs and other electronic gadgets have utilized to put away modest quantities of data that need saving since power is taken out. Not at all like bytes in many other sorts of non-volatile memory, singular bytes in a conventional E2PROM can be read, deleted, and re-composed independently.

Electric Speed Control (ESC): An electronic gadget paired with the drone’s flight controller and power supply to control the direction and speed of the UAV motors.

Electromagnetic Interference (EMI): Known as electrical interference – now and again from external sources. 

Elevator (ELEV): Otherwise called “Pitch”, Please allude its definition. 


Fail Safe: A system that assists in protecting a drone when it comes to an error. 

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA): Known as a Department of Transportation Agency from America, it has the position to direct and regulate all parts of the United States civil aviation. You can check out their official site here.

Field of View (FOV): The measurement, in degrees, of what amount should be seen through a camera lens.

Final aerial movement: Same as Roll. It is a flight expression for pivot along an axis. Gives side to side movement of the UAV.

First Person View (FPV): The pilot sees what the UAV sees by using a screen or mobile gadget.

Flight Controller (FC): A multirotor’s brain.

Flight Envelope: Manoeuvrability ranges that limits of yaw, pitch, and roll altitude are created to ensure the steadiness of an airplane. 

Frequency-Hopping Spread Spectrum (FHSS): Referred to as a technique for sending radio signals by quickly switching a carrier among numerous frequency channels, utilizing a pseudorandom arrangement that the receiver and transmitter know.


Geofencing: A virtual geographic boundary generated through the use of software and GPS to limit where a UAV can and cannot fly.

Gimbal: The mount on a UAV where a camera sits; often allows the camera to move and balance out along various axes.

Global Positioning System (GPS): Used for tracking a drone’s position through satellite. 

Ground Control System (GCS): A tool that measures directional acceleration; employed to stabilize quadcopters.

Gyroscope: Gives an angular speed around three space axes in degrees to keep up the direction of the quadcopter. 

Inner Loop / Outer Loop: Normally used to allude to the adjustment and navigation ability of an autopilot. The adjustment/ stabilization function needs to run ongoing and as regularly as one hundred times each second (referred to as “inner loop”); meanwhile the navigation capacity can run as rarely as once every second and can endure interruptions and delays (referred to as “outer loop”).


Hexacopter: A multi-rotor airplane with six rotors.  

High-Intensity Radio Transmission Area (HIRTA): Flying through a HIRTA can meddle with the hardware on your automaton.

Hobby Grade: An upgrade from toy drones.


Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU): A controller combining a gyroscope and an accelerometer. It helps stabilize and situate a quadcopter.

Inertial Navigation System (INS): A system that figures position depending on the underlying GPS reading while at the same time, incorporating speed and movement sensor readings.

Intelligent Orientation Control (IOC): It sets the forward control of the UAV to approach with any place the nose of the automaton is pointing.

IP Rating: A rating system employed to classify the level of security that an electrical enclosure has against dust and water.


Line of Sight (LOS): It is included in the essential guideline in flying a drone; in case the airplane fails to be in your sight, it will be inclined to control loss bringing about the property or individual harm. 

Lithium Ion Battery (Li-Ion): Known as the variation of Lithium Polymer Battery (lithium-poly, Li-poly, LIP, or LiPo). That battery chemistry delivers enhanced power and is more lightweight when compared to NiCad and NiMh batteries. 

Lithium Polymer Battery (LIPO): Battery chemistry which offers less weight and more power when compared to NiCad and batteries.

Low Altitude and Notification Capability system (LAANC): Enables the access of a drone to controlled airspace in near real-time.


Magnetometer: Referred to as an electronic compass which flight controller counts on to have an idea of which course it gets pointed in.

Mean Sea Level (MSL): Elevation estimated over the normal height of the sea/ocean.

Micro Air Vehicle (MAV): Known as a less sizable UAV. 

Mobius: Kind of camera for less sizable quadcopters – equipped for 1080p HD.

Modding: Modifying a quad – say, adding a superior camera. 

Model Aircraft: An automated airplane that is equipped for sustained flight in the air; operated inside the VLOS of the individual flying the plane and functioned for recreational or hobby purposes. 

Multicopter: A rotorcraft with over two propellers.


NAZA: Sort of controller with a barometric accelerometer, gyro, and an accelerometer.


Octocopter: A multirotor airplane with eight propellers. 

On Screen Display (OSD): An approach to incorporate information (frequently telemetry data) into the ongoing video stream the airplane is delivering to the ground.


Payload: Known as the stuff that a drone is capable of lifting/ carrying.

Pitch: Describes up and down movement along the vertical axis to the rear from the front to the drone.

Professional Drone: A top-of-the-line UAV fitted with the most recent innovations intended for a particular kind of professional use like professional media.


Quadcopter: The multirotor with four propellers.


Racing Drone: A quadcopter made for competing in first-person view racing.

Radio Controlled (RC): The way drones get flight directions. Here, the ground-based pilot will utilize a game controller or other hand-held units or, in case the drone boasts of Wi-Fi abilities, a tablet or PC can be utilized.

Ready To Fly (RTF): Alludes to quads or drones that come with all you require, “in the box”, to begin functioning in the air. 

Received Signal Strength Indicator (RSSI): Indicates how strong the radio signal from the controller to the UAV is.

Return to Home (RTH): A setting that the UAV operator can trigger on the remote control for asking the device to come back to a set area automatically in case signal is lost – for example.

Revolutions Per Minute (RPM): The occasions the UAV engine shaft pivots a full cycle in one minute.

Roll: Describes up and down movement on the UAV’s every side.

Rotorcraft: An aerial vehicle which has the propulsion and lifts from rotor blades, instead of the arrangement with wings that you can find on a plane. At the point when one rotorcraft comes with at least two blades providing propulsion, it is referred to as the multirotor plane. 

Rudder (RUD): Similar to YAW – capable of controlling which direction the UAV is flying. 


Small Unmanned Aircraft System (sUAS): Unmanned aircraft systems whose weight is less than 55lbs.

Sensor Assisted Flight Envelope (SAFE): This innovation is an advanced electronic flight envelope security framework. It additionally delivers more seamless flight ability that fights conditions with the strong wind for you and numerous modes so that you will be able to fly the drone with the degree of security and help that is suitable for any given flight moment.

Spatial Awareness: The capacity to know about oneself in space. The airplane with SAFE innovation utilizes such awareness to enable the RC pilot to keep up control in a particular flight envelope. 


Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR): A temporary limitation of all flights that applies to a particular region because of the government VIPs’ presence, cataclysmic events, special occasions, and other abnormal occurrences.

Throttle: Controls the speed – drone motors/ propellers’ revolutions.

Transmitter: Similar to the controller – intended for controlling the UAV in flight from the ground.

Trim: Buttons on the controller for controlling the throttle, yaw, pitch, and roll.


Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS): An uncrewed aircraft, say – a quadcopter, that an operator controls on the ground.

Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV): When it comes to the military, those machines tend to be referred to as UAS (Unmanned Aerial Systems), to indicate that the airplane is simply a part in the airborne and ground system. People call ground-based automated robots as UGVs (Unmanned Ground Vehicles), and robot submarines are named as AUVs (Autonomous Underwater Vehicles). Boat-based robots are referred to as USVs (Unmanned Surface Vehicles). 

Uncontrolled Airspace: Airspace without ATC services. 

Upright Launch: Likewise landing is referred to as VTOL, and alludes to the ability of an airplane making upstanding departures and arrivals, rather than a straight descent or climb that you can find in set wing planes.


Visual Line of Sight (VLOS): A UAV’s operation in the operator’s direct line of sight without any gadget’s guide other than corrective lenses.

VTOL (Vertical Takeoff and Landing): This is an important attribute of quads as well as other different UAVs with numerous rotors. Such airplanes can take off vertically, thus requiring next to no space. Fixed-wing airplanes ask for a runway to depart and arrive on the ground.


Waypoints: Set of at least three coordinates employed to locate the UAV during autonomous missions.

Wingspan: The greatest distance to wingtip from wingtip.


Yaw: Rotating the UAV along with its vertical access.

We hope you find this glossary is helpful. If you would love to suggest any other term, do not hesitate to leave your suggestions in the comments section below.

Related Articles

- Advertisement -spot_img

Latest Articles