Drones, Parts& Accessories

Drone Vocabulary List

Drone Vocabulary List

We put together this Drone Vocabulary List to help our customers and drone hobbyists understand common and no so common words used in the drone industry.

We have created two lists, the first is specific to the vocabulary you most likely encounter when looking to buy your first drone. The second list is more comprehensive, including terms that you will come across when you start diving into the hobby.

Drone Product Vocabulary: You will find this terminology embedded in product descriptions as well as in product images highlighting the drone features and capabilities. You will also find it throughout our Online Shop and in other specialized drone shops.

Drone Industry-Wide Vocabulary: You will find this terminology embedded in UAV articles, UAV community discussion groups (forums), and so on. You may want to bookmark this page for a quick reference.

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The DroneHiss.com Team

2.4 Ghz: It is currently the most commonly used radio frequency rate for drone controllers. Drones are controlled via a direct communications link between your RC (usually your mobile phone) and your WiFi-enabled drone. Older drones would use Radio Control frequencies of 900 MHz. WiFi frequencies are strong enough to fly your drone up to 600 meters away from your transmitter. Most drones we sell in our Online Shop are WiFi enabled drones.

2.4 GHz and 5 GHz WiFi Access Points: Most ISPs (Internet Service Providers) Home WiFi Gateways have two Access Points, one running at 2.4 GHz and the other at 5 Ghz. The 2.4 Gz Access Point provides a coverage of longer range, but a much lower speeds. The 5 GHz Access Point provides less coverage but transmits data at faster speeds. All of this background information is just for telling you that many drone manufacturers utilize 2.4 Ghs for UAV control and 5 GHz for video transmission, so you now understand the reason for such specs.

5G: It is NOT 5 Ghz! You will surprised how many people think it is. In the phone industry the “G” as in 5G stands for Generation. 5G (i.e. fifth-generation) networks are currently being rolled out around the world. These networks are going to revolutionize all aspects of technology in ways we cannot still imagine. 4G network uses frequencies around 700 MHz, whereas a 5G networks uses frequencies around 2500 MHz, several orders of magnitude faster.

4G and 5G Drone Control: This is a completely different way to remote control your drone. Instead of your RC connecting and “talking” directly to your drone, both your RC and your drone are connected to the phone network. This means that you can operate a drone on the other side of the world, if you wanted to!

Drones operating on a 4G network will experience latencies (how fast the dronde respond to a RC command) of up to 50 milliseconds. Now, on a 5G network it will be 1 millisecond. As a result, we will be able to fly our drones with a lot of accuracy. Also, you will be able to transfer massive amounts of high resolution videos in real time.

Operation of drones on 4G and 5G networks are highly regulated. Check out Drone-Related Agencies and Organizations for more on this subject.

In summary, 5G will supercharge drones around the world.

4K Camera: New standard for high resolution picture taking and videography. It has 4 times the resolution of the Full HD 1080p standard, hence the terminology 4K. It covers a screen size of 3840 x 2160 pixels, so produces images of up to 8,294,400 pixels. Most drones sold on this site have 4K cameras, including our mini drones.

50x Zoom: Drones are now being equipped with powerful cameras. The drone operator can easily zoom into a POI (Point of Interest) via Remote Control without having to move the drone around as much.

Auto leveling: This is a flight mode that allows the drone to perform an even flight. This is an automatic feature that gets turned on through the push of a button on the Remote Control.

Battery Capacity: The unit of measurement used to describe the energy capacity of a battery in mAh (Milliampere Hour).

Beautify Mode: Drone manufactures provide filters (software-based) to beautify the faces of people automatically during picture taking. The Beautify Mode or Function is not really standard terminology, but many Chinese manufactures use it to promote their drone products.  As a result, we use it as well in our product descriptions.

Cruise Speed: This is analogous to the cruise speed when we drive a car. The speed the drone travels at, during the cruising phase of flight.

Dual Cameras: One is mounted in front of the drone and another at the bottom. You can switch the two cameras via Remote Control when flying the drone and enjoy different scenery.

Drone: It is an aircraft that’s usually piloted from the ground. It can now carry any kind of payload; for example, one or two cameras. There are many exciting new applications being developed: package delivery, agricultural spraying of fields, and so on.

FC: Flight Controller or RC (Remote Controller). it is used to control the UAV.  It is not unusual to find several vocabulary terms to refer to the same thing.

First person view (FPV): A technology that allows the person controlling the drone to observe the flight, as if they’re in the aircraft. FPV is possible because the camera footage from the drone is observed in real time. Usually, FPV footage is viewed on a smartphone. Some drone models allow the integration with Virtual Reality (VR) googles.

Flight Time: Amount of time the drone will be in flight. When looking at drone specifications, this is generally a maximum time. When planning a mission, this is the time it will take to complete the mission.

Folding Body Drone: Nowadays, most drones have arms that fold for easy transportation and storage.

Gesture Interaction: Through the use of a simple vocabulary of hand movements, the pilot can control many drone actions. Most commonly, hand gestures are used for taking selfies, start or stop videos.

Follow-Me Mode: Other terms you may see are “Follow-You”, “Smart Follow”, etc. mean exactly the same thing. As the name suggests the drone will follow you, actually it follows your Remote Control at a safe distance. Several techniques are used by drone manufactures to achieve this amazing feature.

Gimbal: This is a mechanical gism used to stabilize the camera so that video or photos taken during a flight will not be blurred due to shaking. The camera will be quite steady even if the drone rolls, pitches, or yaws. A must if you want to get really good video. It also may allow for the payload to be pointed in different directions by remote control by the drone operator.

Global positioning system (GPS): This is a navigation system and most UAVs come equipped with it. GPS makes it easy to always have an accurate idea of the drone’s location. The positioning system also allows for the return home functionality.

Gravity Sensor Mode: Many small drones come now equipped with this flying mode. It allows the drone (usually a quadcopter) to automatically mimic the way you move your controller, which is usually a smart phone.

Gyroscope: A device used to measure and maintain level orientation this sensor is connected to the flight controller to maintain stability.

Headless Mode: This feature allows the drone to “remember” its orientation in relation to where it took off. If you select right from your Remote Controller, it will know to turn right in relation to your position. This is a must have drone feature.

Lithium Ion Battery: A type of rechargeable battery that uses a Lithium compound. This type of battery is commonly used to power smaller drones.

Mini / Nano and Micro drones: These drones fit in the palm of your hand or in your pockets. Despite that, they are often loaded with amazing technologies.
Lithium Ion Battery: A type of rechargeable battery that uses a Lithium compound. This type of battery is commonly used to power smaller drones.

Mount: Used to be able to attach a camera to a drone.
Battery Capacity: The unit of measurement used to describe the energy capacity of a battery in mAh – Milliampere Hour

One Key Return / One Key Take-Off:  Pushing the One Key Return button in the remote controller will cause the drone to return to its departure position. Pushing the One Key Take-Off, will automatically elevate the drone vertically off the ground.

Optical Flow Mode: This is actually quite complex to understand and you may want to google it to study it further. Basically, the motion of objects in the visual field of the drone is used to make computations to greatly stabilize the aircraft. The end result is that the drone becomes easier to fly, and much easier to setup photo and video shoots.

Quadcopter: An quadcopter has four horizontal propellers. The vast majority of drones we sell in our Online Shop are quadcopter drones.

Racing Drone: A small quadcopter that is designed to participate and compete in FPV (first person view) racing events.

RC – Remote Control: This term refers to the ability to operate a drone remotely, it also refers to the actual hardware being used to control the drone. Drones use software stored in its embedded systems along with a variety of sensors (GPS, Gravity Sensor, etc) to facility the Remote Control of the drone.

Trajectory Flight: Most drones are now equipped with a Trajectory Planning and
Flight feature. The trajectory path can be drawn directly into the smart phone app provided by the manufacturer, once the trajectory is activated (via remote control) it is executed by the drone.

UAV: an acronym that stands for unmanned aerial vehicle. This is a device that’s capable of movement without having a pilot on board.

Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV): A term that means the same as drone or unmanned aircraft.

WiFi Drone Control: Your drone is controlled via a direct communications link between your RC (usually your mobile phone) and your WiFi-enabled drone.

The DroneHiss.com Team

2.4 Ghz: It is currently the most commonly used radio frequency rate for drone controllers. Drones are controlled via a direct communications link between your RC (usually your mobile phone) and your WiFi-enabled drone. Older drones would use Radio Control frequencies of 900 MHz. WiFi frequencies are strong enough to fly your drone up to 600 meters away from your transmitter. Most drones we sell in our Online Shop are WiFi enabled drones.

2.4 GHz and 5 GHz WiFi Access Points: Most ISPs (Internet Service Providers) Home WiFi Gateways have two Access Points, one running at 2.4 GHz and the other at 5 Ghz. The 2.4 Gz Access Point provides a coverage of longer range, but a much lower speeds. The 5 GHz Access Point provides less coverage but transmits data at faster speeds. All of this background information is just for telling you that many drone manufacturers utilize 2.4 Ghs for UAV control and 5 GHz for video transmission, so you now understand the reason for such specs.

5G: It is NOT 5 Ghz! You will surprised how many people think it is. In the phone industry the “G” as in 5G stands for Generation. 5G (i.e. fifth-generation) networks are currently being rolled out around the world. These networks are going to revolutionize all aspects of technology in ways we cannot still imagine. 4G network uses frequencies around 700 MHz, whereas a 5G networks uses frequencies around 2500 MHz, several orders of magnitude faster.

4G and 5G Drone Control: This is a completely different way to remote control your drone. Instead of your RC connecting and “talking” directly to your drone, both your RC and your drone are connected to the phone network. This means that you can operate a drone on the other side of the world, if you wanted to!

Drones operating on a 4G network will experience latencies (how fast the dronde respond to a RC command) of up to 50 milliseconds. Now, on a 5G network it will be 1 millisecond. As a result, we will be able to fly our drones with a lot of accuracy. Also, you will be able to transfer massive amounts of high resolution videos in real time.

Operation of drones on 4G and 5G networks are highly regulated. Check out Drone-Related Agencies and Organizations for more on this subject.

In summary, 5G will supercharge drones around the world.

4K Camera: New standard for high resolution picture taking and videography. It has 4 times the resolution of the Full HD 1080p standard, hence the terminology 4K. It covers a screen size of 3840 x 2160 pixels, so produces images of up to 8,294,400 pixels. Most drones sold on this site have 4K cameras, including our mini drones.

50x Zoom: Drones are now being equipped with powerful cameras. The drone operator can easily zoom into a POI (Point of Interest) via Remote Control without having to move the drone around as much.

Accelerometer: A device that is used to detect and measure acceleration forces in 3 dimensions. This helps stabilize the drone.

Anemometer: A device used for measuring wind speed.

Auto leveling: This is a flight mode that allows the drone to perform an even flight. This is an automatic feature that gets turned on through the push of a button on the Remote Control.

Battery Capacity: The unit of measurement used to describe the energy capacity of a battery in mAh (Milliampere Hour).

Beautify Mode: Drone manufactures provide filters (software-based) to beautify the faces of people automatically during picture taking. The Beautify Mode or Function is not really standard terminology, but many Chinese manufactures use it to promote their drone products.  As a result, we use it as well in our product descriptions.

Center of gravity: This is the place where most of the drone’s weight is located. The center of gravity is usually positioned at the center of the aircraft.

Cruise Speed: This is analogous to the cruise speed when we drive a car. The speed the drone travels at, during the cruising phase of flight.

Dual Cameras: One is mounted in front of the drone and another at the bottom. You can switch the two cameras via Remote Control when flying the drone and enjoy different scenery.

Drone: It is an aircraft that’s usually piloted from the ground. It can now carry any kind of payload; for example, one or two cameras. There are many exciting new applications being developed: package delivery, agricultural spraying of fields, and so on.

EMI – Electromagnetic interference: Any disturbance that could potentially affect the control of the UAV is known as EMI.

FAA – The Federal Aviation Administration: The FAA regulates and oversees American civil aviation, including the flying of drones.

FC: Flight Controller or RC (Remote Controller). it is used to control the UAV.  It is not unusual to find several vocabulary terms to refer to the same thing.

First person view (FPV): A technology that allows the person controlling the drone to observe the flight, as if they’re in the aircraft. FPV is possible because the camera footage from the drone is observed in real time. Usually, FPV footage is viewed on a smartphone. Some drone models allow the integration with Virtual Reality (VR) googles.

Fly Away and Fly Away Protection: Fly Away refers to UAV flight that’s not controlled by the pilot. Fly Aways are often times caused by EMIs. Some UAVs come with fly away protection systems. In case of loss of control, the drone’s GPS location system can make it return safely to the start position.

Flight Time: Amount of time the drone will be in flight. When looking at drone specifications, this is generally a maximum time. When planning a mission, this is the time it will take to complete the mission.

Folding Body Drone: Nowadays, most drones have arms that fold for easy transportation and storage.

Follow-Me Mode: Other terms you may see are “Follow-You”, “Smart Follow”, etc. mean exactly the same thing. As the name suggests the drone will follow you, actually it follows your Remote Control at a safe distance. Several techniques are used by drone manufactures to achieve this amazing feature.

Gesture Interaction: Through the use of a simple vocabulary of hand movements, the pilot can control many drone actions. Most commonly, hand gestures are used for taking selfies, start or stop videos.

Geofencing: A software feature that uses GPS or some other navigational system to define a virtual geographical barrier.

Gimbal: This is a mechanical gism used to stabilize the camera so that video or photos taken during a flight will not be blurred due to shaking. The camera will be quite steady even if the drone rolls, pitches, or yaws. A must if you want to get really good video. It also may allow for the payload to be pointed in different directions by remote control by the drone operator.

Global positioning system (GPS): This is a navigation system and most UAVs come equipped with it. GPS makes it easy to always have an accurate idea of the drone’s location. The positioning system also allows for the return home functionality.

Gravity Sensor Mode: Many small drones come now equipped with this flying mode. It allows the drone (usually a quadcopter) to automatically mimic the way you move your controller, which is usually a smart phone.

Gyroscope: A device used to measure and maintain level orientation this sensor is connected to the flight controller to maintain stability.

Headless Mode: This feature allows the drone to “remember” its orientation in relation to where it took off. If you select right from your Remote Controller, it will know to turn right in relation to your position. This is a must have drone feature.

LIDAR – Light Detection And Ranging:  LIDAR is a distance measuring technique that uses pulsed laser light to measure distances. This technology when used as part of a sensor for a drone can be used for airborne mapping.

Lithium Ion Battery: A type of rechargeable battery that uses a Lithium compound. This type of battery is commonly used to power smaller drones.

LOS – Line of Sight: LOS refers to being capable of seeing the UAV in the air. For safe use of a drone it should always be within the ground controller’s line of sight.

Mini / Nano and Micro drones: These drones fit in the palm of your hand or in your pockets. Despite that, they are often loaded with amazing technologies.
Lithium Ion Battery: A type of rechargeable battery that uses a Lithium compound. This type of battery is commonly used to power smaller drones.

Mount: Used to be able to attach a camera to a drone.
Battery Capacity: The unit of measurement used to describe the energy capacity of a battery in mAh – Milliampere Hour

No Fly Zone: Places that the U.S. Government had put restrictions on which do not allow any UAV’s to fly. There are now all sort of apps including FAA sponsored apps to help you find out where and you can fly your drone, see for example: B4UFLY Mobile App.  Do your own research, and do not rely on a single source.

One Key Return / One Key Take-Off:  Pushing the One Key Return button in the remote controller will cause the drone to return to its departure position. Pushing the One Key Take-Off, will automatically elevate the drone vertically off the ground.

Optical Flow Mode: This is actually quite complex to understand and you may want to google it to study it further. Basically, the motion of objects in the visual field of the drone is used to make computations to greatly stabilize the aircraft. The end result is that the drone becomes easier to fly, and much easier to setup photo and video shoots.

Over the horizon: A situation in which the UAV is outside the controller’s line of sight.

Part 101: Or US Federal regulation 14 USC Part 101, Section 336. Regulates balloons, kites, amateur rockets, some types of aircraft (drones), etc. Drones are also regulated under Part 107. A remote pilot who is certified to operate a drone under Part 107 has the option of operating that aircraft under Part 101.

Part 107: US Federal regulation 14 CFR Part 107. This is the regulation that applies to all commercial operators flying drones less than 55 pounds.

Payload: This measurement refers to the amount of additional weight that UAVs can carry. The payload usually refers to the weight of the camera because that’s the additional equipment most often installed.

PIC – Pilot in Command:  A PIC is a person who holds an FAA-issued remote pilot certificate with an sUAS rating and who is allow to directly control an unmanned aircraft (drone).

Pitch: When the front of the drone moves up and down.

Photogrammetry: A method of surveying and mapping through stitching photographs together to make one large image.

POI – A Point of Interest: It could be any area that the camera that you would like your drone capture photos or videos of.  With the availability of powerful Zooming cameras incorporated into newer drones, finding POIs becomes an easier task.

Pre Flight Planning: Used to pre-program a flight path for your drone to follow.

Propeller: An angled blade that is used to create an area of high and low pressure to provide lift or thrust.

Quadcopter: An quadcopter has four horizontal propellers. The vast majority of drones we sell in our Online Shop are quadcopter drones.

Racing Drone: A small quadcopter that is designed to participate and compete in FPV (first person view) racing events.

Remote Pilot Certificate: A pilot certificate granted by the US FAA which allows the certificate holder to operate a small UAS (drone) for commercial or recreational purposes under the Part 107 regulations of the FAA.

RC – Remote Control: This term refers to the ability to operate a drone remotely, it also refers to the actual hardware being used to control the drone. Drones use software stored in its embedded systems along with a variety of sensors (GPS, Gravity Sensor, etc) to facility the Remote Control of the drone.

Roll: The left or right rotational movement of an aircraft about its longitudinal axis.

RTF – Ready To Fly:  This term refers to drones that come completely assembled. Such devices are ready for use once they’re taken out of the box, given that the batteries are charged.

Semi-Autonomous Flight: Flight where an operator must provide some input to complete an operation.

Small Unmanned Aircraft System (sUAS): An unmanned aircraft consisting of both some kind of Remote Control device and an unmanned aircraft (drone).

Telemetry: A two-way digital data stream between the UAV and a ground station that is used to communicate flight data and instructions to control the UAV.

Trajectory Flight: Most drones are now equipped with a Trajectory Planning and
Flight feature. The trajectory path can be drawn directly into the smart phone app provided by the manufacturer, once the trajectory is activated (via remote control) it is executed by the drone.

UAV: an acronym that stands for unmanned aerial vehicle. This is a device that’s capable of movement without having a pilot on board.

Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV): A term that means the same as drone or unmanned aircraft.

WiFi Drone Control: Your drone is controlled via a direct communications link between your RC (usually your mobile phone) and your WiFi-enabled drone.

Yaw: Looking down on a drone, the term yaw refers to movement of the drone counterclockwise or clockwise.

The DroneHiss.com Team