Here is an explanation of some of the common drone features.
Headless Mode– This is a special flight mode and it is some manufacturers call it CF Mode. DJI calls it Home Lock (HL). The idea with headless mode is that the drone will fly left/right or forward/back as you tell it from the controller, but with no sense of which way the drone is facing. So “forward” will always move the drone away from you even if it is facing you. Similarly, “left” will always move the drone to your left, not the drone’s left. Headless mode was the big hot feature in 2015/2016 and a bunch of low and mid-priced drones started including this feature. Unfortunately, it is our experience that it doesn’t work well unless the drone has GPS . So, don’t expect much from this feature if you are getting a $30 toy drone. Here is the Half Chrome break down of what headless mode is good for and not good for.
Good uses of headless mode:
- Getting a drone back home if you lost track of where it is. Flip on headless mode, go up in altitude, and pull back on the stick to bring the drone closer.
- Getting a drone back to you if you can’t tell which way it is facing. Same as above.
When headless mode is not useful:
- On low cost drones – it just doesn’t work
- Learning to fly. It can be confusing and actually slow down the learning process.
- If the drone is too close to you the drone may think it is at a different location with respect to you than it actually is and it may behave unpredictably. Be careful!
FPV– First Person View is a method of flying where the person at the controls sees what the drone’s camera sees. The image can be displayed on a screen built into the controller, on a device like your phone or tablet, or on a set of virtual reality goggles.
LiPo– Lithium Polymer batteries are a light weight battery technology that is used in most drones. They pack a huge punch for their light weight, which makes them ideal for flying. There are special requirements for charging these batteries so always follow the manufacturer’s instructions. We are wary of splitters that offer to charge multiple batteries off of a single charger. There are some anecdotal horror stories about doing this and we prefer to use one charger per battery. Make sure you inspect your batteries before and after each use.
Eversion– Flip. A lot of the Chinese manufacturers use the term eversion to state that their drone flips with the push of a button. Eversion is just fancy for flip.
UAV– Unmanned Aerial Vehicle. Another name for what most people call a “drone”.
FAA Abbreviations and Acronyms
The FAA has a lot of abbreviations that are pertinent to drones. The table below is compiled from a couple of drone related FAA sources.
|14 CFR||Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations|
|ACR||Airman Certification Representative|
|ACS||Airman Certification Standards|
|ACS||Airman Certification Standards|
|ADDS||Aviation Digital Data Services|
|ADIZ||Air Defense Identification Zone|
|AELP||Aviation English Language Proficiency|
|AFM||Airplane Flight Manual|
|AFS||Flight Standards Service|
|AGL||Above Ground Level|
|AIM||Aeronautical Information Manual|
|AIRMET||Airman’s Meteorological Information|
|AKTC||Airman Knowledge Testing Center|
|AKTR||Airman Knowledge Test Report|
|AOA||Angle of Attack|
|ASOS||Automated Surface Observation System|
|ATC||Air Traffic Control|
|ATD||Aviation Training Device|
|ATIS||Automatic Terminal Information Service|
|AWOS||Automated Weather Observation System|
|CFA||Controlled Firing Areas|
|CFI||Certified Flight Instructor|
|CFR||Code of Federal Regulations|
|CG||Center of Gravity|
|CP||Center of Pressure|
|CRM||Crew Resource Management|
|CTAF||Common Traffic Advisory Frequency|
|CTP||Certification Training Program|
|DOT||Department of Transportation|
|DPE||Designated Pilot Examiner|
|FAA||Federal Aviation Administration|
|FADEC||Full Authority Digital Engine Control|
|FDA||Federal Drug Administration|
|FDC||Flight Data Center|
|FRZ||Flight Restriction Zone|
|FSDO||Flight Standards District Office|
|FTN||FAA Tracking Number|
|GPS||Global Positioning System|
|IACRA||Integrated Airman Certification and Rating Applicant|
|IAP||Instrument Approach Procedures|
|ICAO||International Civil Aviation Organization|
|IFR||Instrument Flight Rules|
|IR||Instrument Routes (sectional charts)|
|ISA||International Standard Atmosphere|
|LAA||Local Airport Advisory|
|LSC||Learning Statement Code|
|MAP||Missed Approach Point|
|MDA||Minimum Descent Altitude|
|MEL||Minimum Equipment List|
|METAR||Aviation Routine Weather Reports (Meteorological Aerodrome Report)|
|MOA||Military Operation Areas|
|MSL||Mean Sea Level|
|MTR||Military Training Route|
|NACG||National Aeronautical Charting Group|
|NAS||National Airspace System|
|NASA||National Aeronautics and Space Administration|
|NOAA||National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration|
|NOTAM||Notice to Airmen|
|NSA||National Security Area|
|ODA||Organization Designation Authorization|
|PAVE||PIC – Aircraft – environment – External pressures|
|PLT||Pilot Learning Statement Code|
|POH||Pilot’s Operating Handbook|
|RPE||Remote Pilot Examiner|
|SAFO||Safety Alert for Operators|
|SAO||Special Area of Operation|
|SIDA||Security Identifications Display Area|
|SIGMET||Significant Meteorological Information|
|SMS||Safety Management System|
|SOP||Standard Operating Procedures|
|sUAS||Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems|
|TAF||Terminal Area Forecast|
|TFR||Temporary Flight Restrictions|
|TRSA||Terminal Radar Service Area|
|TUC||Time of Useful Consciousness|
|UNICOM||Aeronautical Advisory Communications Stations|
|UTC||Coordinated Universal Time|
|VFR||Visual Flight Rules|
|VLOS||Visual Line of Sight|
|VR||Visual Routs (sectional charts)|
|W&B||Weight and Balance|
|WST||Convective Significant Meteorological Information|
Not sure what is the best drone for you???
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