A glossary of drone terminology

When you're searching for a drone, you'll come across lots of terminology like gimbals, altitude hold and FPV, to name a few. Whilst you don't need to be an expert in all of these, it's important to understand the basic terms, especially when it relates to the fuctionality of a drone you're thinking of buying!

To help, we've put together this handy glossary of terms for the most common drone terminlogy you'll come across.

Altitude hold

This will ensure that your drone hovers at a fixed height by itself, without the need for you to constantly adjust using your controller. This allows you to focus on flying 'forwards' and 'backwards' only whilst still maintaiing a level height. Particuarly important feature for camera drones.

Camera Gimbal

In simple terms, the camera gimbal is a 'caddy' that holds your camera steady no matter what angle or direciton your drone is actually flying in. two or three axis camera gimbals offer significant better quality drone camera footage than those with no gimbal or digital camera stabalisation only.

Fly Away

An unexpected drone flight outside of the intended flight path usually due to conditions (wind) or the failure of a controller, onboard system or both.

FPV

This is an abbreviation for "First Person View" and essentially refers to the video footage a drone operator can view, in real time, whilst flying a drone that has a camera mounted on it.

Geofencing

Some of the more advanced drones will use the built in GPS to createa virtual wall around no-fly zones or restricted area. Usually these areas will show on the app or controller screen an operator is using to fly ther drone with.

GPS

GPS stands for Global position system which is a satelite based navigation system owned by the US government. Probably most commonly known for providing your precise location on something like Google maps. GPS is often built into more advanced drones which offers a much more precise and stable flight, particularly in windy conditions, than drones without GPS.

Headless mode

Usually to help beginners but also useful for advanced fliers too, headless mode ensures that regardless of the direction your drone is point, it will always follow your controller stick movemens. i.e With this mode it means you don't need to reverse your controller stick movements when you're flying your back towards you.

LOS (Line of sight)

LOS short for line of sight, refers you still being able to see your drone from the point at which you are operating it from. To legally fly your drone in most countries (if not all), you are required to maintain line of sight at all times.

Jello effect

This can be seen on video footage captured by a drone where the camera is not fully isolated from the vibrations of moving parts on the drone. i.e a drone that does not have a camera gimbal. The result is wobbly video that can make you feel queasy to watch!

Racing Drone

Usually a small quadcopter, that is designed to fly fast using FPV (first person view), which is essentially someone flying as if they had their eyes stuck to the front of the drone.

Return to home (RTH)

Return to home refers to built in drone functionality, that the pilot can trigger which will instruct the drone to automatically return to home (your location). Drones can also automatically RTH when the signal to the controller is lost or if the drone has a low battery.

Selfie Drone

A range of typically portable drones, specifically designed to take self portrait photos and videos from an aerial point of view.