We're excited to present our final blog, part 3 of our complete list of essential drone terms for pilots, professionals, and enthusiasts. Check back every week for new terms, or download our eBook to share across your organization.
Quadcopter: A drone with 4 rotor arms.
Radio: This transmitter controls the drone’s movements such as pitch, yaw, and roll.
R/C or RC (Radio Controlled): Operating a drone via radio waves.
Receiver: In FPV, this is what links the drone camera’s live stream to the goggles. Also called a “video receiver” (RX), “transmitter” (Tx) or “video transmitter” (VTX).
(The) Roadmap: A document released in 2013 by the FAA detailing safety guidelines for drone flight in national airspace.
Roll: Moving the drone side to side laterally.
Rotorcraft: A drone that generates lift through rotor blades instead of wings.
RPAS (Remotely Piloted Aerial/Aircraft System): A combination of a drone, pilot, and its command systems.
RPM (Revolutions Per Minute): The unit of measurement used to determine the number of times the drone’s motors turn in 1 minute.
RSSI (Received Signal Strength Indicator): The unit of measurement used to estimate the radio signal strength between a controller and a drone.
RTF (Ready-to-Fly): Great for beginners, this drone requires no (or minimal) assembly and can be flown right out of the box.
RTH (Return to Home) or RTL (Return to Launch): An automated drone feature that grounds the drone at the selected home point.
RTK (Real-Time Kinetics): Satellite positioning technology that draws on GPS and GLONASS data to precisely pinpoint a drone’s location.
Rudder: Another term for “yaw.” This is rotating the drone clockwise or counterclockwise.
Rx (Receiver): Component built-in to a drone that receives and interprets radio signals.
Sense And Avoid: If a drone is enabled with this technology, it will automatically steer away from obstacles and other aircraft.
Servo (Servomotor or Servomechanism): Drone component that assists with positioning and acceleration. Sometimes also called an “actuator.”
Skydio: Drone manufacturer located in Redwood City, California. Compatible with DroneDeploy.
S Mode (Sport Mode): DJI drone setting that allows the pilot to fly at the fastest speed possible for that model.
Spatial Awareness: The capability of a drone to be aware of its boundaries and positioning.
Spotter: When flying in FPV, this person keeps the drone in their visual line of sight (VLOS).
sUAS (Small Unmanned Aircraft System): A small drone that weighs less than 55 lbs. Can also be a micro-air vehicle.
Telemetry: The communications stream between a drone and its ground control system (GCS).
TFR (Temporary Flight Restriction): A notice given to drone pilots by the FAA that restricts airspace temporarily. This is common for natural disasters or large events.
Throttle: This control gives the propellers and motor power.
Thrust: The amount of force driven by the throttle that generates lift.
Trim: The buttons on the side of a drone’s remote control that manage roll, pitch, yaw, and throttle.
Tx (Transmitter): In FPV, this is what links the drone camera’s live stream to the goggles. Also called a “video transmitter” (VTX), “receiver” (RX), or “video receiver” (VRX).
UAS (Unmanned Aircraft System): An FAA term for unmanned aircraft, operated by a pilot on the ground. This includes drones. Also called an “unmanned aerial vehicle” (UAV).
UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle): An FAA term for unmanned aircraft, operated by a pilot on the ground. This includes drones. Also called an “unmanned aircraft system” (UAS).
Ultrasonic sensors: On a drone, these sensors calculate height and balance.
Upright Launch: This is the ability of the drone to take off upright, as opposed to fixed wing aircraft. Also called “vertical takeoff” (VTOL).
Uncontrolled Airspace: Term used by the FAA to indicate class F and G airspace, unregulated by air traffic control (ATC).
UTM (Unmanned Traffic Management): An air traffic management system under development by NASA, the FAA, and other government agencies that will traffic low altitude drone flights.
Video Latency: The lag in video streaming between a drone’s camera and pilot’s goggles or monitor.
VLOS (Visual Line of Sight): An FAA requirement that the drone in operation remains visible by the pilot’s naked eye, unaided by devices.
VO (Visual Observer): An optional teammate that aids the pilot by scanning the airspace for hazards while the drone is in flight. Can also be called a “spotter.”
VTOL (Vertical Takeoff): This is the ability of the drone to take off upright, as opposed to fixed wing aircraft. Also called “upright launch.”
WAAS (Wide Area Augmentation System): A satellite navigation system developed by the FAA that enhances GPS signals for better positioning accuracy.
Waypoints: Helpful in creating flight paths, these are GPS coordinates used to define a point in space.
WiFi FPV: This type of FPV is common with more inexpensive drones. Typically, the pilot connects to a mobile app to receive the drone’s live stream.
XWing: Refers to the x design on a drone’s framework.
Yaw: Rotating the drone clockwise or counterclockwise. Another term is “rudder.”
YWing: Refers to the y design on a drone’s framework.