Drone Terminology and Abbreviations

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Drone Terminology And Abbreviations

There are many technical terms & abbreviations used within the drone industry as a result of its rapid spread. In this article, we will list some of the terms, abbreviations and its meaning:

  • Accelerometer – An instrument for measuring acceleration.
  • AD/Aerodrome – a small airport or airfield.
  • AGL/Above Ground Level – a height above ground level
  • AHRS/Attitude and Heading Reference System – Consists of sensors on three axes that provide attitude information for aircraft, including roll, pitch and yaw
  • AIAA/Area of Intense Aerial Activity – an airspace within which aircraft, singly or in combination with others, regularly participate in.
  • AIC/Aeronautical Information Circular – contains explanatory or advisory information concerning technical, legislative or administrative matters.
  • AIP/Aeronautical Information Publication – is defined by the International Civil Aviation Organization as a publication issued by or with the authority of a state and containing aeronautical information of a lasting character essential to air navigation.
  • AIS/Aeronautical Information Service – a service established in support of international civil aviation.
  • AMSL/Above Mean Sea Level – is an elevation (on the ground) or altitude (in the air) of an object, relative to the average sea level datum.
  • AOA/Angle of Attack – the angle between the chord of an airfoil and the direction of the surrounding undisturbed flow of gas or liquid.
  • ARF – Almost Ready to Fly
  • ASSN/Application Specific Sensor Node – Integrating sensors and sensor fusion in a single device.
  • ATC/Air Traffic Control – the ground-based personnel and equipment concerned with monitoring and controlling air traffic with a specific area.
  • ATTI Mode/Attitude Mode – where the drone will maintain a specific altitude but not position.
  • ATZ/Aerodrome Traffic Zone – an airspace of defined dimensions established around an aerodrome for the protection of aerodrome traffic.
  • Autopilot – short for automatic pilot
  • Axis – an imaginary line about which a body rotates.
  • BAR/Barometric Altimeter – an instrument to indicate altitude.
  • Barometric Pressure Sensor – is a sensor that detects atmospheric pressure.
  • BEC/Battery Elimination Circuit – is an electronic circuit design to deliver electrical power to other circuitry without the need for multiple batteries.
  • Bind – means connected.
  • BNF – Bind N Fly
  • Brushless Motor – used for aircraft/drones
  • BVLOS/Beyond Visual Line of Sight – is a term relating to the operation of drones at distances outside the normal visible range of the pilot/operator.
  • CAA – Civil Aviation Authority
  • CAP – Civil Aviation Publication
  • CG or CoG/Center of Gravity – a point from which the weight of a body or system may be considered to act.
  • CleanFlight – is flight controller software for multi-rotor and fixed wings.
  • Controlled Airspace – is airspace of defined dimensions within which ATC services are provided.
  • Controller – a person or thing that directs or regulates something.
  • CTA/Control Area – is the volume of controlled airspace that exists in the vicinity of an airport.
  • CTR/Control Zone – is a volume of controlled airspace, normally around an airport, which extends from the surface to a specified upper limit, established to protect air traffic operating to and from that airport.
  • D&A or DAA/Detect and Avoid – the capability to see, sense or detect conflicting, traffic or other hazards and take the appropriate.
  • DGPS/Differential Global Positioning System – is an enhancement to the Global Positioning System (GPS) which provides improved location accuracy.
  • DJI – Shenzhen DJI Sciences and Technologies Ltd, which stands for Da-Jiang Innovations, is a Chinese technology company headquartered in Shenzhen, Guangdong with manufacturing facilities throughout the world.
  • DSM/Digital Spectrum Modulation – is the process of encoding a digital information signal into the amplitude, phase, or frequency of the transmitted signal.
  • EASA – European Aviation Safety Agency
  • ECA – Emergency Controlling Authority
  • EEPROM – Electronically Erasable Programmable Read Only Memory
  • EMI/Electromagnetic Interference – also known as radio-frequency interference (RFI) when in the radio frequency spectrum, is a disturbance generated by an external source that affects an electrical circuit by electromagnetic induction, electrostatic coupling, or conduction.
  • ESC/Electronic Speed control – is an electronic circuit that controls and regulates the speed of an electric motor.
  • EVLOS/Extended Visual Line of Sight – allows flight beyond Visual Line of Sight of the Remote Pilot by using “trained observers”.
  • Fail Safe – a system or plan that comes into operation in the event of something going wrong or that is there to prevent such an occurrence.
  • FHSS/Frequency Hopping Spread Spectrum – is a method of transmitting radio signals by rapidly changing the carrier frequency among many distinct frequencies occupying a large spectral band.
  • FIR/Flight Information Region – is a specified region of airspace in which a flight information service and an alerting service are provided.
  • Firmware – is the software at the heart of your drone. It controls everything from flight inputs to battery management and everything in between.
  • FL/Flight Level – is an aircraft’s altitude at standard air pressure, expressed in hundreds of feet.
  • Flight Envelope – the range of combinations of speed, altitude, angle of attack, etc., within which a flying object is aerodynamically stable.
  • Fly Away – happens when your controller’s link to the drone is interrupted or completely lost thus making it difficult or impossible to control the drone.
  • FAA – Federal Aviation Administration
  • FlySafe Database – GPS coordinates for where your drone is not able to fly.
  • Flight Log – a record of a single flight.
  • FOV/Field of View – represents the ground swath width.
  • FPV/First Person View – is the ability of the user of some technology to see from a particular visual perspective other than one’s actual location.
  • FPV Drones – a drone with a camera that wirelessly transmits video feed to googles, a headset, a mobile device or another display.
  • GCS/Ground Control System – a system of accurate measurements used to determine the distances and directions or differences in elevation between points on the Earth.
  • Geofencing – the use of GPS to create a virtual geographic boundary, enabling software to trigger a response when a mobile device enters or leaves a particular area.
  • Gimbal – is a 2 or 3 axis device that keeps equipment steady when the supporting platform moves.
  • GIS/Geographic Information System – is a conceptualized framework that provides the ability to capture and analyze spatial and geographic data.
  • GLONASS/GNSS – stands for Global Navigation Satellite System and is the standard generic term for satellite navigation systems that provide autonomous geo-spatial position with global coverage.
  • GoPro – It manufactures action camera that can be attached to drones.
  • GPS/Global Position System – is a U.S.-owned utility that provides users with positioning, navigation, and timing services.
  • Gyroscope – used to provide stability or maintain a reference direction in navigation systems, automatic pilots, and stabilizers.
  • Headless Mode – no matter the orientation of your drone in the air, if you press left on your transmitter, it’ll also move to the left, in relation to your point of view.
  • Hexacopter – an unmanned helicopter having six rotors.
  • HIRTA – High Intensity Radio Transmission Area
  • ICAO – International Civil Aviation Organization
  • IMU/Inertial Measurement Unit – is an electronic device that measures and reports a body’s specific force, angular rate, and sometimes the orientation of the body, using a combination of accelerometers, gyroscopes, and sometimes magnetometers.
  • INS/Inertial Navigation System – is a navigation device that uses a computer, motion sensors and rotation sensors to continuously calculate by dead reckoning the position, the orientation, and the velocity of a moving object without the need for external references.
  • IOC/Intelligent Orientation Control – helps to maintain the orientation of the quadcopter while in flight.
  • LAANC system – Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability system
  • LiDAR/Light Detection and Ranging – is a method for measuring distances by illuminating the target with laser light and measuring the reflection with a sensor.
  • Li-ion/Lithium Ion – is a type of rechargeable battery uses lithium ions as the primary component of its electrolyte.
  • Li-Po/Lithium Polymer – is a rechargeable battery of lithium-ion battery technology using a polymer electrolyte instead of a liquid electrolyte.
  • LOS/Line of Sight – a line from an observer’s eye to a distant point.
  • Magnometer – is a device that measures magnetic field or magnetic dipole moment.
  • mAh/milli Amp hours – is a unit that measures (electric) power over time.
  • MAV/Micro Air Vehicle – is a class of miniature UAVs that has a size restriction and may be autonomous.
  • MEF/Maximum Elevation Figure – is a type of visual flight rule (VFR) information that indicates the elevation of the highest geographical feature within a quadrangle area.
  • Mod/Modding/Modifications
  • Mode 1 Transmitters – have throttle on the right stick and are popular in the UK.
  • Mode 2 Transmitters – have throttle on the left stick and are more popular in the USA.
  • Multicopter – is a rotocraft with more than two lift-geenerating rotors.
  • NOTAM/Notice to Airmen – a written notification issued to pilots before a flight, advising them of circumstances relating to the state of flying.
  • OAS/Obstacle Avoidance System – is the task of satisfying some control objective subject to non-intersection or non-collision position constrained.
  • Octocopter – an unmanned helicopter having 8 rotors.
  • OSC – Operational Safety Case
  • OSD – On Screen Display
  • OM – Operations Manual
  • PfCO – Permission for Commercial Operation
  • Payload – is the weight a drone can carry.
  • PDB – Power Distribution Board
  • PIC/Pilot in Command – has final authority and responsibility for the operation and safety of the flight.
  • Pitch – is the forward and backward tilt of the drone.
  • Pre-Flight Planning
  • Prop/Propellers
  • Quad/Quadcopter – an unmanned helicopter having four rotors.
  • RC – Radio Controller
  • RX – Receiver
  • RTH – Return To Home
  • Roll – the rotation of the aircraft from nose to tail (front to back on a copter). Basically, roll refers to the movement of the drone forward, backward, left and right along a horizontal axis.
  • RPAS – Remotely Piloted Aircraft System
  • RPM – Revolutions Per Minute
  • RSSI – Received Signal Strength Indicator
  • RTF – Ready to Fly
  • SERA – Standard European Rules of the Air
  • Servo/Servomotor or Servomechanism – is an electromagnetic device that converts electricity into precise controlled motion.
  • SUA – Small Unmanned Aircraft
  • SUSA – Small Unmanned Surveillance Aircraft
  • Telemetry – the process of recording and transmitting the reading of an instrument.
  • TFR – Temporary Flight Restriction
  • Throttle – controls the vertical up and down motion of the drone. Positive throttle will make the drone fly higher and negative throttle will make the drone fly lower.
  • Thrust – is the amount of upward force your drone can produce when at full throttle.
  • TMA – Terminal Control Area
  • TX – Transmitter
  • Trim – buttons on the remote control that help you adjust roll, pitch, yaw and throttle if they are off balance.
  • UAQ – Unmanned Aircraft Qualification
  • UAV – Unmanned Aerial Vehicle
  • UAS – Unmanned Airborne System
  • UTM – Unmanned Traffic Management
  • Video Latency – refers to the amount of time it takes for a single frame of video to transfer from the camera to the display.
  • VLOS – Visual Line of Sight
  • VO – Visual Observer
  • VRX – Video Receiver
  • VTOL – Vertical Takeoff and Landing
  • VTX – Video Transmitter
  • Waypoint
  • WGS – World Geodetic System
  • YAW – is the left and right rotation of the drone.