A Glossary of Drone Terms & Acronyms

Like all new technologies, trends and fashions. New words and acronyms crop up all the time. So I have compiled a glossary of drone related words, authorities, companies, acronyms, sayings & terms. Mainly to remind myself when needed. Feel free to use at your leisure. (If you want to copy to your web site, please contact us first. Thank you).


180 Racer: Referring to the 180mm diagonal measurement of a racing drone carbon fibre frame.

2.4 GHz Spread Spectrum: The lowest frequency bandwidth, the most common used in home appliances.

250 Racer: Referring to the 250mm diagonal measurement of a racing drone carbon fibre frame.

3D Mapping: A method using computer software to produce 3D models from video or photographic imagery.

5.8GHz: The highest frequency bandwidth, used by less devices. In an effort to reduce interference during flight, racers and serious hobbyists use this bandwidth.



Accelerometer: An electro-mechanical device that measures acceleration forces. These forces may be static, or they could be dynamic – caused by movement or vibration. The Flight Control Unit can use this information for better stabilisation.

Acro mode: Slang meaning -Acrobatic mode, where the automatic horizontal correction is turned off. In order to perform stunts, such as flips and tricks. For advanced users. most commercial drones will not have this function. A home build is the best and cheapest way to get a drone with this function.

Aerial Photography: Photography and cinematography taken from the air. Made considerable cheaper with U.A.V technology, hence opened up possibilities to a host of industries, organisations and individuals.

Altitude Hold Function: An easy one push button control, to maintain a desired altitude.

Almost Ready to Fly (ARF): Additional building & configuration will need to be done on receipt of your purchase.

Auto Level Mode: Corrects each propeller speed in real-time to keep your drone level. (Using the ESC’s) Usually only racing drones or D.I.Y drones have this function. It should only be used by people who are very experienced pilots. Most, off the shelf drones, have this function built in with no option to turn off.

Autopilot: Function which allows control of flight to be handed to the on board computer.

Autonomous: Controlled without the input from a human pilot.

Axis: A cross sectional dimension, usually following a line symmetry.


Balanced Battery Charger:

Barometer: A sensor to measure air pressure, used to help calculate drone altitude.

Betaflight: Flight Control Board Configuration Software. Connect drone to computer via USB.

Bind: The term for the process of connecting a controller transmitter to drone receiver.

Bind and Fly (BNF): Out of the box, drone and controller, ready to bind then fly.

Boot-loader: A boot loader is a type of program that loads and starts the boot time tasks and processes of an operating system or the computer system.

Brushless Motors:

Build: Usually referring to a home build. A racing drone term for enthusiasts.

Beyond Visual Line Of Sight (BVLOS): The controller of the unit is out of physical sight of the vehicle. Usually relying on remote visual aid to control the unit.


CAA: Civil Aviation Authority. visit site here

Camera Mount: Mechanism to securely attach a camera to the vehicle.

Centre of Gravity (CoG): A central balance point of the drone, if held on your finger.

Cleanflight: Flight Control Board Configuration Software. Connect drone to computer via USB.

Collision Avoidance: The term given to a vehicles ability to autonomously avoid obstacles during flight. This is usually done by using onboard sensors (like in your car bumper, instead of a sound, a corrective flight path is calculated)

Controlled Airspace: An area of airspace where permission is needed to fly.

Controller: Hand held transmitter designed to operate an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle. A controller binds to a desired unit, that connection allows the user to fly their drone.


Drone: A pilot-less craft, either autonomous or controlled from a remote position.

Drone Powered Solutions (DPS): Bespoke solutions for commercial tasks.


Electromagnetic Interference (EMI): Electrical Interference, either man made or natural.

Electronic Speed Controller (ESC): A device to control the angular velocity of each motor, connected to the flight control unit. This is the main relay that provides the auto level modes of drones.


Federal Aviation Administration (FAA): The US state department with authority to regulate all aspects of civilian aviation.

Field of View (FOV): The restricted scope of vision when holding a lens to an eye.

Firmware: Computer software used to configure your on board control unit.

First Person View (FPV): From the perspective of the subject (drone) not the user or spectators personnel view.

Flight Controller: or FCB flight control board, unit, system. It is the central circuit board to tie all ESC’s together and the power board etc. The brain of the drone.

Flight envelope: The range of manoeuvrability set for the drone, as a pilot’s skill increases the envelope can widen to experience new limits of the drone performance.

Fly Away: A Loss of control of the drone, due to failure of operator or hardware.

Frequency: Referring to the signal bandwidth. Measured in Hertz, the transmitter signal is sent on a certain frequency which the receiver tunes into, to read the message.


Geofencing: The use of GPS to electronically set virtual boundaries for U.A.V’s flight paths and restricting access to particular air space.

Gimbal: A camera mount to the drone. Gives the camera the ability to swivel and pivot free from obstruction and difficulty. The camera can fix on a point while in moving flight, because of the gimbal and produce smooth footage.

GoPro: The leading action video camera system on the market. Robust, high quality cameras, used by a huge variety of sport lovers. From Skiing to diving.

Global Positioning System (GPS): Used for orientation, using triangulated calculations from satellite signals transmitted and received from a desired device. Such as a mobile phone, oil rig or U.A.V. The system can be used to keep the required object stationary relative to the desired measurable metric.

Gyroscope: An instrument used to show your current planar horizon compared to the Earth’s true gravity produce horizon.


Hexacopter: A multi-rotor aircraft having six rotors in which the beauty and advantage of the hexacopter is that it can lose any single engine and still maintain control to land.

Headless mode: A drones control will remain to its front regardless of the orientation.


Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU): The Inertial Measurement Unit is a controller which combines an accelerometer and a gyro, with the purpose of helping with the orientation and stabilisation of a quad. Collecting Linear and angular acceleration data, which is sent to the central control unit for processing.


Jacked: Slang meaning – your rig is has been modified to the max.


Kilo: Unit prefix, indicating 1 unit x 10 to the power of 3. (or 1 Unit x 1000).

Kilometres Per Hour (KPH): Decimal measurement of speed comparing kilometres per hour.



Landing Gear: The mechanism to protect the vehicles structure upon touching down.

Line of Sight (LOS): Indicating the controller is in a position, where they can physically see the vehicle being operated.

Lithium-ion Polymer battery (LiPo): A technology using a polymer gel as the electrolyte to create a higher potential difference, hence higher power to weight ratio. Ideal for applications such as mobile devices and drones.


Metres Per Second (m/s): Decimal unit measurement of speed.

Mili Amp Hours (mAh): A unit showing the amount of current/time output.

Miles Per Hour (MPH): Imperial speed measurement.

Mobius Camera: A small video camera company making cameras ideal for U.A.V’s.

Mods: Slang meaning – Referring to modifications made to a home made rig or build.

Modifications – Changes made to stock parts and components.

Mount: Mechanism to attach a device to the vehicle. (usually a camera)

Multi-rotor: A vehicle with more rotors than the usual 2 found on helicopters.


Nano: The term given to the smallest class of drones. It can be used in reference to toy sizes drones. Also, the term given to the new technology in medicine, nano-bots/ drones. Which can enter the blood stream or body to aid repair.

Also a unit prefix indicating 1 unit x 10 to the power of -9

(Mathematically explained = 1 x -1,000,000,000.)


No Fly Zone: Areas where flying in prohibited. These areas are becoming highlighted more and more to the public for the safety of everyone. Only fly where you are permitted and under control and in adherence to the law, at all times. People are starting to get jail time and heavy fines for silly pranks and unthought out flight plans.


On Screen Display (OSD): Referring to the feed provided by a remote camera mounted on the drone. Relayed to a device, like a built in monitor in the control unit. Also fed to mobile devices.


Payload: The name given to an external weight added to the vehicle to carry.

Power Distribution Board (PDB): Internal circuit board connecting the battery to all essential components.

Pitch: A flight term in reference to the front to back tilt controls. (Right control stick, forward and back pitches the drone forward and back)

Pre-flight Plan: Before each flight, a usual procedure of checks are taken place to ensure flight integrity of your vehicle.


Quadcopter: The most common type of drone on the market. 4 propellers, ideal for stability and power/weight ratio.


Remote Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS): The latest terminology for a drone or U.A.V. Suggested by the EU.

Return to Home: A function on many mid range consumer drones. One push button to return drone to take off or GPS programmed location.

Rig: Slang meaning – Usually referring to a home build racing drone or general term for what equipment you are flying.

Roll: A Flight term in reference to the left and right tilting of the drone. (Right control stick, left and right rolls the drone left and right)

Rx: An abbreviated term for receive. Sometimes also in reference to the receiving unit on the vehicle. The receiver.


small Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (sUAV): Military term for a small hobby size U.A.V

Sync: synchronisation


Throttle: A flight term in reference to the power control giving the drone trust. (Left control stick, forward and back throttles the drone up and down)

Transmitter (Tx): The control unit used to instruct the vehicle. Designed to send signals, usually via radio waves in this reference.

Trim: A flight term in reference to the fine adjustment settings, usually as a dial, for the pilot to set their default controller positions.

Tx: An abbreviated term for transmit. Sometimes also in reference to the transmitter unit (Radio Control)


Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV): One of many names given to drones that fly.


Video Latency: On Screen Display and real time feed is out of synchronisation because of transmission loss in signal transfer

Visual Line of Sight (VLOS): Another term given to the user being able to physically see the vehicle they are in control of.


Waypoint: A pre-planned location en-route to the final destination.

Wide Open Throttle (WoT): Slang meaning – Full power, with left throttle stick pushed forward at maximum.


XT60: A type of power connector commonly used on LIPO batteries to connect to the power bus of a drone.


Yaw: A flight term in reference to the horizontal rotation of the vehicle. (Left control stick, left and right for left and right rotation)


glossary produced by editorial staff @ 

Drones Eyeview
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