UAV Tips- Jargon-Busting Guide

As a new and emerging market, there is often confusion around terminology in the drone industry and navigating the journey from buying to flying can be difficult without the correct knowledge. Manufacturers, operators, and even training companies may use their own terms to describe permissions, platforms and processes. To a beginner, this can be intimidating and confusing, so we’ve created this handy jargon-busting guide to help you get started in the drone industry. Here are our top 8 terms that we’ve decoded for you:

UAS (Unmanned Aircraft System): UAS is a more up-to-date and internationally recognised term for an aircraft with no onboard pilot and is controlled from the ground or autonomously. 

sUAS (Small Unmanned Aircraft System): This term describes a battery-powered aircraft that is less than 20kg (UK) or 55lbs (US). A sUAS is what we would mostly relate to a recreational drone such as a DJI.

RPAS (Remotely Piloted Aircraft System): RPAS is a term from ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization) that is used to describe a form of UAS that is non-autonomous and is subject to direct pilot control at all stages of flight despite being operated remotely. 

UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle): UAV is one of the most frequently used terms other than ‘drone’ and is widely used in certification and guidance material.  

These terms all refer to a more general definition of any aircraft that is operated from a remote location without a pilot onboard. 

PfCO (Permission for Commercial Operation): A PfCO is a permission you need from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to carry out commercial work with your drone. Check if you need a PfCO here.

UAQ (Unmanned Aircraft Qualification): A UAQ is specific to UAVAir and is the training course you will complete to receive your PfCO recommendation for the CAA. The UAQ course consists of online learning, ground school training, and a flight assessment. 

OM (Operations Manual): This is the document you will complete as your last step to a PfCO recommendation, which is reviewed by us before you submit your application to the CAA. It details everything in your operations from pre-flight checklists and contact details to emergency procedures. 

ATTI Mode (Non-GPS Mode): ATTI mode is a term that was coined by DJI to describe non-GPS mode on an aircraft. Because DJI models are so popular, many refer to ATTI mode as a widely recognised term when flying without their GPS on. At UAVAir, we require students to take their Flight Assessments in non-GPS mode. If you're flying an aircraft with a non user-selected ATTI mode such as a DJI Mavic Pro or Spark, then there are a slightly different set of manoeuvres.

At UAVAir we understand that entering the UAV industry can seem like a daunting step for someone who hasn’t flown a drone before. Our team of specialists is always on hand to help walk you through the process and answer any questions you may have. Get in touch with us today to talk to a member of the team.