So your new to drones. If you’ve been browsing some info trying to learn a bit more you’ll have stumbled across terms like UAC, COAs, FAA and so on. You’ll see them repeated everywhere but no one explains what they are, because any self respecting drone enthusiast would have them embedded in their brain by now! But you’re here because, like us all, we’ve got to start somewhere! So to guide you through the same steps we took, we’ve compiled a quick list of some of the most common terms to help you along the way.
AP – Aerial Photography
ARF – Almost Ready to Fly
Autonomous – Widely used to describe drones that have been set to a path, rather than being under direct control by radio signal
Balance Battery Charger / Smart Battery / Intelligent Battery – A battery that uses smart technology to balance charging efficiently over multiple cells
Barometric Pressure Sensor – A device which uses reading to determine altitude/distance from the ground. Skydivers also use tools similar to these
Build – A generic term a drone owner may use to describe their setup
Gimbal – This is the camera holder attached to the underside of the drone, some models of gimbals allow for tilt and swerving of the camera via radio control, in addition to directing the drone itself
CG – Center of Gravity
CF – Carbon Fibre. An extremely lightweight and strong material
DJI – A popular brand maker of drones and accessories
Drone – A term which has been made popular in the media, generally describing all kinds of drones, from personal consumer units to large government aircraft
ESC – Electronic Speed Controller
FAA – Federal Aviation Administration
FPV – First Person View
Flash – A term used to put software or drivers onto a device
Firmware – Software that is loaded onto the device. New firmwares can be ‘flashed’ on to a drones computer chip
GoPro – A very popular brand of action cameras that can be mounted to a lot of drone models
GPS – Global Positioning System
Gyro – Gyroscope
Hexacopter – A air vehicle with 6 rotors
ICAO – International Civil Aviation Organization
JPEG – An image file format cameras can produce
Lipo – A type of battery that the majority of drones use
LOS – Line Of Sight
mAh – A unit of electrical charge, used to describe how powerful the battery of the drone is (bigger is better)
Mod – Short for modification
Multicopter – A generic term to describe aerial aircraft with multiple propellers
Octocopter – An aerial aircraft that contains 8 motors
OSD – On screen display
Parrot – A popular brand of drones
Payload – An amount of weight the drone may be able to lift
Pitch – In the simplest term, this refers to flying up or down, while moving forward
Phantom – A popular brand of ready to fly drones (that require minimal assembly)
Quadcopter – An aerial aircraft that contains 4 motors
RC – Radio Controlled
Roll – A term for ‘rolling’ an aircraft 360. “do a barrel roll” < try this link to get a better idea!
RPA(S) – Remotely Piloted Aircraft (Systems)
RTF – Ready To Fly. Drones with this description are as easy as unbox, and off you go! Little to no assembly required
Throttle – A control to increase the speed of the motors in the drone
Toy Grade – A term used to describe very inexpensive aircraft
UAS – Unpiloted Air System
UAV – Unmanned Aerial Vehicle / Unpiloted Aerial Vehicle
Way-point – A description of a set place. e.g. You can set a few waypoints for a drone and it will fly to them in order.
Yaw – In simplest terms, this refers to the drone spinning clockwise or counterclockwise
Any other terms you’ve heard recently that left you scratching your head? Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments below!
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