A B C of the Drone Industry

05 Dec

I wanted to get into the subject about the different terminology and technical terms when you are starting out for the first time with drone racing. For example texting a friend, you have different ways like LOL-laugh out loud. So a new comer to this industry you need to know what you're talking about because it's like a second language to all people in this industry. So i did do some research and i came up with the ones i think will be beneficial to you weather your racing quads or doing free style or operating the radio control. Here is the terminology, abbreviations related! So don’t feel like you have to straight away know all these terms because myself am still learning. A good way to learn these is print out this list i have provided and stick them on the back of your toilet door and this way you will be able to memorise them one by one. I know there would be more of these terminology’. But if you keen by all means go for it. I hope this can be use full to many of you. I think whats really important is when you start out things can be quit an over load with all this info plus I felt like that when i started. I would learn a couple a day and concentrate practicing your flight skill’s with a simulator. Head to my website and i have some video’s on some sims and they are for free to download. If you want for need help simply message me and i will be more then happy to help. Plus subscribe to my website and you will be able to leave a comment and i will message you back. So remember you don’t have to know all these. But i wish you all the best and have fun   

AUW All up weight - 

Max weight of a copter including LiPo Battery and other parts, ready to fly


Additional switches/potentiometers/sliders in a radio transmitter

ALT Altitude - 

The vertical distance you are from ground

APM  Ardu Pilot Mega - 

A type of flight controller board 

ACC - Accelerometer 

A device that measures acceleration forces in a specific direction

AB  - AKA Damping Light - 

A feature in BLHeli that improve throttle responsiveness.

AH -  Altitude hold 

A flight mode that maintain height, it uses “BARO” sensor

Acro - Acrobatic

This means multiple things, first flight mode is one level when you start out so the gyro balances to keep your quad stable. Then comes Rate Mode. Then once you get 

better off comes your trying wheels and ready to fly Acro.

AIL  Alluring

Also known as roll

Air Mode       

FC firmware feature  - that keeps PID controller working even when throttle is at zero, 

AL Mode Auto Levelling - 

A flight mode that allows the copter to stay level. It uses “ACC” sensor

ALT Altitude - 

The vertical distance you are from ground

APM  Ardu Pilot Mega - 

A type of flight controller board

AC flight controller 

firmware software

ARTF Almost Ready to Fly - 

An ARTF aircraft package usually includes everything you need to fly, but it requires simple assembly.

Is simply a simple step to press down on any receiver while at the same time when switching on your radio controller so they both work together to communcate how you

want to fly your quad etc.

BD  Binding - Same thing

This process of pairing any radio transmitter and receiver can behave the same way that will work together

BL BootLoader -

In non-volatile memory a code is stored in a microprocessor that can interface  directly to a Mac or PC to download a user’s program.

BM  Brushed Motor- 

A type of motor that is commonly used in small multi-rotors, they are generally powered by 1S batteries

BM Brushless Motor

A motor that is commonly used for multi-rotors. They all have a whole range of voltage input

BARO Barometric Altimeter - 

It measures altitude by using barometric pressure

BEC Battery Eliminator Circuit - 

A voltage regulator found in some ESCs. It’s there to provide constant 5V voltage for RC equipment such as Flight controller and radio receiver

BNF  Bind and Fly


cells is normally is basically in every battery like a LiPo battery has a voltage of 3.7V

CF  Carbon Fiber

Which is what a frame is made up of 3K Carbon, Very light weight           


 Clean Flight Is a software to tune your quad and do miner adjustments


Centre of Gravity

The average location of the weight of a copter. It’s important to make sure the COG of your copter is right in the middle (or close enough)

Channel CF

Video transmitter signals on a certen particular frequency, every channel has a  frequency  each VTX can support multiple channels


A type of flight controller board


Degree of Freedom

It give clues as to whats on the “IMU”. For example 6DOF = 3 axis Gyroscope (gyro) + 3 axis acc; 9DOF = 3 axis Gyroscope + 3 axis Accelerometer + 3 axis Magnetometer; 10DOF = same as 9DOF and adds a Barometric Altimeter


An unmanned aircraft that is guided remotely by a pilot. For military use, these aircraft have weapons and/or surveillance gear. For personal/recreational use, these aircraft often have HD cameras. The term is popular in the media and can be misleading sometimes.


Direct Drive

A type of prop designed to go straight on a motor shaft without a gear reduction.


It’s a feature of receiver which has 2 antennas, and it’s able to switch between the 2 depending on which antenna has a better signal


Digital Shot

A type of ESC protocol


These are proprietary technology of an RC equipment maker, Spectrum, and DSM stands for “Digital Spectrum Modulation”.


Direct-Sequence Spread Spectrum


Electronically  Erasable Programmable Read Only Memory

Its memory used in computers and other electronic devices to store small amounts of data that is saved when power is removed, like calibration individual bytes in a traditional EEPROM can be independently read, erased, and re-written so what ever you have make shore that you know what to do because i have seen people mess things up.


Electromagnetic  Interference

EMI is disturbance that affects an electrical circuit due to either electromagnetic induction or electromagnetic radiation emitted from an external source.


Elevator & pitch


Electronic Speed Control

ESC is used to convert signal from Flight controller or radio receiver, and adds current to the  electric motors.


Federal Aviation Administration

An United States Department of Transportation Agency, it has authority to regulate and oversee all aspects of American civil aviation.

FOV - Field of View

FC Flight Controller

is the cpu of your multi-rotor.


Flying fast and smoothly with style

FPV - First Person View

What the camera sees is what you see and that how you can fly through objects at close range. It’s very addictive and you get hook


Future Technology Devices International


A mechanism to minimise  the damage to the multi-rotor, and nearby objects in case of system failure 


Field-effect transistor

is a device which enables us to use one smaller electrical signal to control another bigger one.


A version control system for software developers.


Global Positioning System

Used to track movement or hold position at pre-defined coordinates


Camera stabiliser or the stick controls 


Ground of a electrical circuit

Ground Effect

Creates Air turbulence from propellers when the copter is hovering at really low altitude



Provides the angular velocity around 3 axes of space in degrees. Assists the quadcopter level and facing the same direction.


Ground Control Station


Inter-Integrated Circuit

A serial bus that allows multiple low speed peripherals, such as sensors, to be connected to a microprocessor.


Inertial Measurement Unit

A Break Out Board containing sensors that reads and sends data to the flight controller


Low-pass Filter

A technique that filters out high frequency signal


An LC Filer is a circuit that removes frequencies (noises) from a power supply and smooths / cleans it so the equipment being powered


Lithium Polymer Battery

Aka LiPoly. Most used power source for RC Hobby these days because of its high energy storage density-to-weight.


Line of Sight

When you are flying your aircraft by watching your aircraft directly, you are flying LOS. Another way of flying is FPV.


milli-amp per hour

An unit that measures the capacity of a LiPo battery



An electronic compass – used to let our FC ( Flight Controller ) know which direction it is pointed in, compared to the Earth’s Magnetic field


ESC Protocol, 


MultiWii Copter

MultiWii is a general purpose software to control a multi-rotor RC model. 

One.shot, Multishot, D.Shot

A faster way of communication between FC and ESC.


On Screen Display

You are able to do many things with OSD, like tuning your PID’s   


Proportional Integral Derivative

The three parameters that you can adjust to change the copter’s flight performance. In theory PID is a control loop that attempts to minimise the difference between a measured process value and its desired value by adjusting the control input of a process.


Power distribution board

A board designed to carry high current, it’s built with copper traces used to connect various electronic components such as LiPo battery, ESCs, Video transmitter, LEDs etc


Pulse Position Modulation

A way of sending sequence of multiple signals down one signal wire




Sudden burst of thrust, Punch in & Punch out. Also used to give power to do a flip of all sorts


Pulse Width Modulation

The square-wave signals used in RC control to drive servos and speed controllers.




Rate changes how fast your copter rotates with the sticks

Rate Mode

A flight mode that only use gyro sensor, also called manual mode


Radio Control

The foundation of our hobby, it’s also used to refer to the hobby as a whole, radio controlled cars, multi-rotor, planes boats and more.


A very popular RC forum



The 3rd generation of OpenPilot Controllers


Radio Frequency

Most frequency bands RC hobby use are 5.gHz, 2.4gHz, 1.2gHz, 433mHz, 900mHz 


Revolutions Per Minute

the number of times a motor shaft  rotates a full cycle in 60 seconds


Received Signal Strength Indication

RSSI is a measurement of how good your radio signal is.


Ready to Fly

Refers to the multi-copter you buy has everything you need to start flying. You just open up the packaging, charge and install the batteries, and off you go!


Return to Home

A GPS feature that when enabled, it returns the aircraft to the “home” position where it took off.


Return To Launch

Same as RTH.



Also known as yaw


Radio Receiver

A device that receives commands from our radio Transmitter, and sends them directly to the servos or to the Flight Controller.


SBUS is a type of serial communication protocols, shared by Futuba and FrSky, 


Sub-Miniature Version A – Reverse Polarity SMA

Different Connectors for FPV gear.


A type of radio channel mapping, it means mapping throttle as channel 1, Aileron as channel 2, Elevator as channel 3, and Rudder as channel 4


A feature that allows you to receive real time flight data from the aircraft back to you; It’s commonly seen in radio TX and RX, there are also standalone devices for telemetry


Controls on your radio transmitter, it changes the speed of the motors


The force generated by the propellers and motor, measured in gram



A device that sends our commands to the Receiver, controlled by the pilot.


Universal Asynchronous Receiver/Transmitter

Serial communication port. A piece of computer hardware that translates data between parallel and serial form.


Unmanned Aerial Vehicle

Aircraft without a human pilot onboard. Control is provided by an onboard computer, remote control or combination of both.


Universal Battery Elimination Circuit

a DC voltage regulator



Positive power supply input


Video Receiver.


A type of multi-copter that has 4 motors, 2 tail motors form a V shape, has no servo


Video Transmitter

 sends video signal to  our video receiver, 


A type of multi-copter that has 8 motors and of a shape of X,  4 motors on top, 4 motors at bottom, no servo


A type of 


Flight term used to describe the rotation of a drone around it’s centre axis. Controls which direction the quadcopter is facing.

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