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The Ultimate Drone Glossary: A Beginner’s Guide

Last updated on

May 21, 2018


    When you first pickup your drone, sometimes the technical terms used can be a little confusing, that’s where we come in to help you.

    Here at COPTRZ we have put together a drone glossary of all the important drone terms that you may need to know.

    Key Terms/Companies:

    • 3D Mapping:
      This is a software package that allows you to create 3D maps from your drone. It allows you to map large areas quickly and effectively. This enables farmers to better plan crop rotation, allows insurance companies to assess damage to buildings without endangering life. It also enables forest management companies to monitor tree crown delineation and helps architects to create an accurate 3D map of the topography of a site for planning consideration. Find out more about the Top 5 Drone Mapping softwares available.
    • BVLoS:
      Otherwise known as Beyond the Visual Line of Sight. This refers to drone flights that are being performed beyond the pilot’s visual line of sight. In most countries, this is not allowed or highly restricted without permission. The current UK rules state that drone operations must be carried out within normal visual line of sight – up to 400ft (122m) high and 500m in every direction. Read more here.
    • CAA:
      The CAA (otherwise known as the Civilian Aviation Authority) are the UK’s specialist aviation regulator. They ensure that the aviation industry meets the highest safety standards. They also ensure that consumers have choice, value for money, are protected and treated fairly when they fly.To operate a drone commercially in the UK you need to gain a Permission for Commercial Operations from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).
    • DJI:
      Dà-Jiāng Innovations otherwise known as DJI are the current world leaders in the civilian drone and aerial image technology industry. They continue to innovate and are constantly adding different concepts to the drone world and supplying market busting technology for both hobbyists and commercial enterprises alike.
    • DJI Aeroscope:
      Aeroscope is DJI’s counter drone technology. By intercepting the current communications link between a DJI drone and its remote controller, Aeroscope is able to broadcast real-time identification information including UAV serial code, make and model, UAV position, speed, latitude and ground controller location. Find out more about Aeroscope here.
    • Drone Finance:
      COPTRZ work with OmniPort to provide flexible drone finance packages to secure the purchase of your next dronepayloadsoftware or training solution. Whether you are just starting your drone business or looking to expand your fleet, we can provide a finance option to assist you.
    • EVLoS:
      The locational delta between an unmanned aircraft and the Remote Pilot can be a matter of tens of meters or thousands of kilometres. These operating ‘ranges’ are termed either Visual Line Of Sight (VLOS) or Beyond Visual Line Of Sight (BVLOS) operations.
    • IP Rating:
      An IP rating is used to define levels of sealing effectiveness of electrical enclosures against intrusion from foreign bodies (tools, dirt etc) and moisture. For example; IP65 Enclosure – IP rated as “dust tight” and protected against water projected from a nozzle.
    • PfCO Training:
      This training course will gain you the skills, knowledge and experience you need to apply for your permission for commercial operations (PfCO). If you plan on using your drone for personal use/as a hobby a ‘drone license’ is not required. If it’s for-profit/or a business then you will need a ‘license’. Read more here.
    • VLoS:
      Otherwise referred to as Visual Line of Sight, and is essentially the opposite to BVLoS. This is how drone operators should operate, ensuring that their drone is well within their visual line of sight.

    The Drone Guide:

    • Ascent Speed:
      This is the speed that the drone ascends into the air. For example, the Wind 4 has a ascent speed of 4 metres per second (m/s).
    • Batteries:
      Your drones battery is possibly the joint most important part of the drone. If the batteries fail, the drone fails. They come in different shapes and sizes, depending on the size of the drone. The better the battery, the better the life of the drone. The more batteries attached, the longer the drone stays in the air.
    • Camera:
      Different drones come with different camera qualities depending on the primary use of the drone. Some drones come with bespoke camera builds, or allow the pilot to attach a camera to them. To view our range of cameras click here.
    • Camera Gimbal:
      The Gimbal houses the camera, and allows the camera to have movement in the air. It also allows the camera to stay still whilst the drone is in movement, allowing for a steady and accurate shot.
    • Descent Speed:
      This is the speed that the drone descends from the sky. For example the Wind 4 has a descent speed of 3 metres per second (m/s).
    • DJI GO 4:
      If you’ve purchased a DJI drone then it’s likely you’ll have come across the DJI Go 4 app.
    • Drone:
      A UAV that is piloted from the ground using a controller. It normally carries a camera and can be used for a variety of different operations.
    • First Person View:
      Allows the pilot to see where they are flying through the drone’s camera.
    • Flight Control System:
      Allows the operator to manually control the drone whilst in flight.
    • GPS:
      Otherwise known as Global Positioning System. A navigation system that allows the pilot to have an accurate idea of the drones current position.
    • Hovering Time:
      Just as it suggests on the tin, the hovering time is how long the drone can hover in the sky when not in movement. The hovering time varies depending on the weight of payload, the heavier the payload, the lesser the hovering time.
    • IMU:
      An IMU is a single unit in the electronics module which collects angular velocity and linear acceleration data which is sent to the main processor.
    • Landing Gear:
      Most drones have a fixed landing gear, which will also be retractable to allow for a full 360-degree view in-flight. Fixed-wing drones don’t have landing gear as they land perfectly fine on their belly.
    • Megaphone:
      A megaphone is an extra payload, ideal for crowd control or finding people during a search and rescue. The transmission is via an external microphone with a 5km range, enabling output even at long distances.
    • Payloads:
      Your payload is essentially whatever you choose to attach to your drone. This can range from the camera, to a megaphone, to a gas detector, to extra batteries, amongst many other things.
    • Propellers:
      Also known as Props, these are what get the drone off the ground, and into the air. They spin in correlation to the pilot’s manual controls and depending on the intensity of the spin is what creates the intensity of the drone’s movement.
    • Remote Controller:
      This is the hand-held controller that allows you to dictate the movement of your drone, as well as adjusting the settings
      Left Stick: The left stick controls the yaw and throttle. So it rotates your drone either clockwise or anti-clockwise and adjusts the height in flight.
      Right Stick: 
      The right stick controls the pitch and the roll. So this basically moves your drone left and right, and forwards and backwards.
      Trim Button: The trim button allows you to balance some of the controls when they turn unbalanced. When you leave the ground your drone may automatically tilt to fly in one direction, the trim feature allows you to balance that out.
    • RPAS: 
      Also referred to as Remotely Piloted Aircraft System. RPAS is a form of UAS which is non-autonomous in its capacities, it’s subject to direct pilot control at all stages of flight despite operating ‘remotely’ from that pilot.
    • RTK:
      RTK stands for real time kinematics. This is a satellite navigation technique that’s used to enhance the precision of position data derived from satellite based precision systems such as GPS.
    • SUA: 
      Otherwise known as Small Unmanned Aircraft. An n aircraft [or aircraft system] that is flown from a remote location without a pilot located in the aircraft itself.
    • SUAS: 
      Otherwise known as Small Unmanned Aircraft System. A relatively new form of unmanned aircraft, starting to drum up interest for non-military uses.
    • SUAV:
      The military abbreviation for Small Unmanned Aerial Vehicle.
    • Thermal:
      Thermal cameras allow you to collect thermal imaging and data. So this can be used to monitor crop defects, as well as the more traditional methods such as tracing life in emergency situations.
    • Transmitter:
      The device that sends signals from the pilots handheld controller, up to the drone.
    • Tripod mode:
      A very slow and stable mode, ideal for shooting low to the ground, as well as close-up action shots. It’s a very precise style of filming and is used frequently by cinematographers and photographers in their work.
    • UAV:
      Unmanned Aerial Vehicle, the military name for a drone.
    • VTOL
      Otherwise known as Vertical Takeoff and Landing. This allows the drone to takeoff vertically, and is used mostly by the Wingtra VTOL.

    Different Types of Drones:

    • Collision Tolerant:
      Designed specifically for inspection and exploration, collision tolerant drones are able to withstand collision without causing serious damage to the drone. An example of a collision tolerant drone.
    • Fixed-Wing Drones:
      They very much resemble a more traditional looking aircraft, and are made up of a central body that has two wings and a central propeller.
    • Hexicopter:
      A copter with six propellers. This has the slight advantage in that, if one propeller fails, the drone won’t drop out of the sky. An example of a hexicopter.
    • Multicopter:
      A generic name for any drone with multiple propellers. Whether this be a quadcopter, hexicopter or octocopter.
    • Octocopter:
      A drone with 8 propellers. An example of an octocopter.
    • Quadcopter:
      The more traditional type of drone with 4 propellers. This is the smallest UAV available, and is positioned horizontally, similar to a helicopter. An example of a quadcopter.

    Drone Controls:

    • Pitch:
      Pitch controls the forward and reverse movement of your UAV. So if you push your right joystick forward then the drone will move forwards, and if you push the right joystick back your drone will move backwards. Simple as that!
    • Roll:
      Roll controls the left and right movement of your drone. Quite simply, if you move the right joystick to the right your drone will move to the right, and if you move your right joystick to the left your drone will move left.
    • Throttle:
      The throttle is quite simply what gets your drone off the ground. If you push your left joystick up your drone will ascend, and if you push the joystick down your drone will descend. 
    • Yaw:
      Yaw is incredibly useful for when you’re looking to adjust your drones position. When you move your left joystick to the left your drone will spin in a counterclockwise direction. When you move your left joystick to the right it will spin in a clockwise direction.


    • Aerial Photography:
      Aerial photography is the taking of photographs of the ground from an elevated/direct-down position.
    • Cinematography:
      The art of photography and camerawork in film-making. The Inspire 2 is one of the best drones on the market for cinematography. 
    • Commercial Enterprises:
      A company that use their drones for commercial and financial gain.
    • Hobbyist:
      Someone who uses their drone for a hobby and not for commercial or financial gain.
    • No-Fly-Zone:
      An area in which drones are not allowed to operate, and are restricted by government regulations. The areas usually involved are where the drone could interfere to effect signals, as well as life.

    We hope you found our drone glossary incredibly interesting! To read our Drone Flying Guide, follow the link.


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