Below is a glossary of common terms used in the UAV/drone industry. We are constantly updating this glossary as the industry changes. We hope that this glossary will be helpful in your training process

We are more than happy to answer any questions that you may have. Please contact at 855-I-FLY-UAV (855-435-9828) or email us at


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  • 333 Exemption
    Exemption from current FAA rules to allow commercial sUAS/drone operations, approved on a case by case basis.
  • A/FD (Chart Supplement)
    Airport/Facility Directory (see Chart Supplement)
  • Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA)
    The main US model aircraft association.
  • Accelerometer
    A device that measures acceleration forces in a specific direction.  Used to help stabilize quadcopters, often under windy conditions.
  • ADDS
    Aviation Digital Data Service (weather graphics)
  • ADM
    Aeronautical Decision Making
  • AFSS
    Automated Flight Service Station
  • AGL
    Above Ground Level
  • Airfoil
    The shape of a wing or blade (of a propeller, rotor, or turbine)
    Airmen’s Meteorological Information
  • Airspace
    Any space below outer space that may be governed through international law, the laws of a country, or through multi-country agreement.
  • AOA
    Angle of Attack
  • ATC
    Air Traffic Control
  • Attitude Mode
    Drone returns to level flight attitude when controls are released but will drift with momentum or wind, not GPS mode.
  • Auto Mode
    Flying with GPS, “Beginner Mode”
  • Auto Return
    When activated, drone returns to takeoff point
  • Autonomous
    An UAV that can be programmed to fly a designated flight pattern without an operator in control.
  • Autopilot
    The component of an unmanned vehicle that is capable of guiding movement of the unmanned vehicle without real time human guidance.
  • Axis
    Every UAV has a Longitudinal Axis which runs from the tail to the nose of the unit and a Lateral Axis that runs from one side to the other side.
  • Battery
    An electro-chemical device capable of storing electrical energy and delivering electrical power.
  • Battery Eliminator Circuit (BEC)
    An electronic device or circuit that distributes electric power from a battery to electronic devices, for reasons that may include minimizing the number of required batteries, or avoiding electrical interference problems.
  • Binding
    The process of training a transmitter and receiver to communicate with each other.
  • Briefer
    Live person providing a weather briefing
  • Camber
    The camber of an airfoil is the characteristic curve of its upper or lower surface.
  • Center of Gravity (CG)
    The point at which a UAV would balance if it were suspended at that point. Also the point that all 3 aerodynamic, rotational axes intersect.
  • Certificate Of Waiver Or Authorization (COW/COA)
    An FAA grant of approval for a specific flight operation. The authorization to operate a UAV in the National Airspace System as a public aircraft outside of Restricted, Warning, or Prohibited areas approved for aviation activities.
  • CG
    Center of Gravity
  • Chart Supplement (Formerly the AF/D)
    Chart Supplements or Airport/Facility Directory (AF/D) are a pilot’s manual which contains data on public use and joint use airports, seaplane bases, heliports, VFR airport sketches, NAVAIDs, communications data, weather data sources, airspace, special notices, and operational procedures.  It also contains airport data such as airport hours of operation, types of fuel available, runway length […]
  • COA
    Certificate of Authorization
  • Controller
    The controller is the handheld device used by the operator to control the UAV.  Controllers are also called transmitters.
  • Drone
    An unmanned aircraft that is guided remotely by an operator.
  • DUU
    Drone University USA
  • Electric Motor
    A machine that converts electrical energy into mechanical energy.
  • Electric-Motor Propeller
    A fixed-pitch or variable-pitch airscrew with one or more blades to convert rotary motion into propulsive force when attached to the shaft of a powered electric motor.
  • Electronic Speed Control (ESC)
    A component that varies (and potentially brakes) the rotational speed of, or changes to the direction of the shaft of an electric motor.
  • First-Person View (FPV)
    Video images detected by a camera on an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) and transmitted in real time to the remote pilot of the UAV. May also refer to the process or experience of remotely piloting an unmanned aerial vehicle while viewing video images transmitted from the vehicle in real time.
  • Fly Away
    Unintended flight outside of operational boundaries (altitude/airspeed/lateral) as the result of a failure of the control element or onboard systems, or both.
  • Fly-Away Protection System
    A system that will return the UAV safely to the surface, or keep it within the intended operational area, when the link between the pilot and the UAV is lost.
  • Gimbal
    A specialized mount for a camera, which have the ability to swerve and tilt using servos. This allows the camera to stay in the same position, regardless of the drone’s movement, making for a very still and smooth looking image.
  • Global Positioning System (GPS)
    A space-based satellite navigation system that provides location and time information in all weather conditions, anywhere on or near the Earth where there is an unobstructed line of sight to four or more GPS satellites. The system provides critical capabilities to military, civil and commercial users around the world.
  • GoPro
    A compact, lightweight and rugged high-definition personal camera, often used in extreme action video photography that is wearable or mountable on vehicles. Able to capture still photos or video in HD through a wide-angle lens, and can be configured to work automatically with minimum intervention, or remotely controlled.
  • Gyroscope
    Provides the angular velocity around 3 axes of space in degrees.  Assists with keeping a quadcopter level and facing the same direction.
  • Hexacopter
    A name an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) with six (6) main rotors.
  • Hobby Grade
    A distinction between a toy and a unit that is more advanced, durable and adaptable.
  • Line of Sight (LOS)
    Flying while watching the UAV and keeping it within sight at all times.
  • Lithium Polymer Battery (LIPO)
    A rechargeable battery of lithium-ion technology in a pouch format. LiPos come in a soft package or pouch which makes them lighter but also lack rigidity.
  • Multicopter
    A name for any small-scale, unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) with multiple main rotors.
  • Multirotor
    A name for any size of rotorcraft that has multiple main rotors. (see this source).
  • Payload Item
    Any item on an unmanned vehicle that is not essential for control of unmanned vehicle movement.
  • Pitch
    Flight term used to describe the angle of flight along an axis. Controls which end of the quadcopter that moves higher.
  • Propulsion System
    A source of mechanical power with a means of using the power to generate force leading to movement.
  • Quadcopter
    A name for an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) with four (4) main rotors.
  • Radio Controlled (RC)
    Radio Controlled vehicle or aircraft.
  • Ready To Fly
    Refers to drones or quadcopters that have everything you need, “In the Box”, to start flying.
  • Return To Launch (RTL)
    Auto capability of the UAV to return itself to the “home” position where it took off.
  • Roll
    Flight term for rotation along an axis. Provides a side to side motion.
  • Servo
    An electro-mechanical device that is capable of receiving electrical signals and converting direct current (DC) electric power into physical movement.
  • Small Unmanned Aircraft System (sUAS)
    A small Unmanned Aerial Vehicle, typically less than 55 pounds.
  • Throttle
    Controls the speed of the rotors.  Provides lift and descent.
  • Transmitter
    Popular name for a typically hand-held electronic device used by a human being to transmit data for real time human guidance of an unmanned vehicle.
  • Yaw
    Flight term used to describe the rotation of a drone around its center axis.  Controls which direction the quadcopter is facing.