FPV (First Person View)
Using a camera and wireless video transmission to view from the perspective of a remote controlled vehicle.
Any unmanned vehicle controlled remotely, usually by a remote pilot.
An aircraft with wings, commonly like an airplane, either powered or not that uses lift generated by the stationary wings to fly. In fpv, most often you will see people refer to a “wing” which is a fixed wing aircraft with no or minimal central fuselage.
An aircraft that uses multiple vertically oriented motors and propellers to fly.
A multirotor with 3 arms and 3 motors, usually the back motor is on a roll axis servo to assist with maneuvering.
A multirotor with four arms, most often in a simple X configuration.
A multirotor with 6 arms.
A multirotor with 8 arms.
A multirotor with 4 arms and 8 motors, 2 motors on each arm, one top and one bottom.
A multirotor with 3 arms and 4 motors, the rear arm is the one with 2 motors
A multirotor with 3 arms and 6 motors each arm has 2 motors top and bottom.
These numbers indicate the size of a propeller on a drone, and is the most common way to separate fpv drones into classes by size. The size of the drone is less important than the size propeller spinning on that drone. Most common for racing, freestyle and cinematic work with or without a GoPro is 5” or 5 inch propeller.
The skeleton of the drone. Usually made out of carbon fiber, the purpose of the frame is to be as durable and as lightweight as possible. A well designed frame finds a balance between durability and weight, and is designed in a way to reduce vibration resonance reaching the gyro. Frames made of materials other than carbon fiber usually significantly sacrifice durability.
Flight Controller (FC)
The motherboard of the drone. This chip contains the central processing unit and the gyroscope. This board communicates with and controls every other part of the drone.
Acro or Rate Mode
A flight mode where the pilot is in full control of the rotation and angle of the aircraft, and is the default configuration in most FPV flight softwares.
An auto level flight mode where the aircraft limits the angle of tilt to a preset numerical value no matter what stick inputs the pilot gives.
An auto level flight mode that does not limit angle of tilt, meaning the aircraft can do complete flip maneuvers, but the aircraft will always snap back to horizon level once the pilot stops giving stick commands.
A feature in flight control software, primarily Betaflight, that gives the motors extra control at low throttle to keep your rates consistent no matter where your throttle is at the moment. This is a feature, not a flight mode, meaning it won’t interfere with Acro/Horizon/Angle modes.
A PID Loop is an engineering tool used to control a system with multiple variables one one or multiple axis of change. PID stands for Proportional, Integral, and Derivative. In fpv, PID tuning is crucial to ensure the drones automated controls for stabilization are properly configured.
Flight control firmware has to process data from a gyro to determine how to make corrections via the PID controller, but the raw gyro data is full of extra electrical and physical noise that has to be filtered out. Hardware and software filters are both used, and while additional filtering introduces additional latency, finding the right amount of filtering is key to making any multirotor fly smoothly.
Specifically in acro or rate mode, the rates determine how much rotational energy the aircraft will receive depending on the current stick position. A stick command on the radio translates to drone movement, and the rates set in the flight control software determine how fast or slow that movement will happen.
Firmware used to run flight controllers on our drones. The Betaflight configurator is an open source computer software used to flash and setup a flight controller.
A flight controller and flight firmware company. Their main product is FalcoX.
A flight control firmware made by FlightOne. It is closed source, and it can be set up entirely within the OSD of your flight controller, making it a simple setup for especially when a computer is not available.
Kiss, made by Flyduino is a flight controller and firmware that is closed source and can only be run on approved KISS or FETtec hardware.
These are the processing chips on modern flight controllers. The only relevant chips now are F4/F7/H7 in that order from slowest to fastest. H7 currently has no advantage over F7, but as flight control firmware continues to advance, we will likely utilize more and more processing power.
On Screen Display (OSD)
The part of a flight controller, or otherwise integrated into the video system, that implements text or graphics into the fpv video feed for the pilot to see in the goggles. Most common OSD elements used are voltage readout, flight timer, and a callsign.
Universal asynchronous receiver-transmitter (UART)
A communications protocol used by flight controllers to communicate with 3rd party devices. Communications might include sbus, crossfire, or other radio protocols, smart.port telemetry or other telemetry, smart audio or tramp telemetry, GPS, etc.
Electronic Speed Controller (ESC)
A device that turns DC power into a 3 phase motor signal via PWM motor signals. The ESC is composed of MOSFETs which act as gates to allow more or less power through to the motor. The FC is sending signals to the ESC to determine how much power to allow through.
The most commonly used firmware on ESCs. BLHeli Configurator is used to flash new versions of the firmware and adjust settings like motor direction.
A digital communications protocol for an ESC. The older versions of this protocol include PWM, OneShot, and Multishot, which are all analog protocols, and require additional calibration and add more latency.
Direct Current (DC)
The type of electricity that uses a positive (+) and negative (-) signal to provide power. A good example of DC power is power from a battery. The negative is also referred to as ‘ground’ or ‘gnd’.
A motor that uses a positively charged and negatively charged magnet to spin a center stator with a propeller shaft attached to it.
A motor that uses electromagnets on a stationary stator to spin a rotating bell on bearings to spin a propeller shaft. The motor is usually labeled by stator size and kv. The stator size determines the power that the motor can produce, the larger the heavier and more power. A 1408 sized motor has a stator that is 14mm wide and 8mm tall. The most common motor size for 5” drones is 2306 (23mm wide and 6mm tall stator). The kv is a measurement that determines the speed of the motor determined also by the amount of voltage put into the motor.
Battery Cell Count- 1s/2s/3s/4s/5s/6s/etc.
This is an abbreviation to denote how many cells are connected in series in a single battery. Cells connected in series add their voltage together only.
A battery type most commonly used in fpv drones. These batteries provide extremely high discharge rate, producing a lot of power in a small amount of time.
A battery type most commonly used in other consumer grade electronics. They make great batteries to power fpv goggles or radio transmitters. LiIon batteries can also be used as flight packs, but they produce a much slower discharge rate, which results in slower flight, but can produce a better battery for low and slow flying, such as what is ideal for long range.
The measurement of amperage capacity within a battery, or consumed by an aircraft. The standard measurement of amperage is amps, and ampere, or amp-hour, but for our small aircraft like racing drones, we use the smaller 1/1000th measurement milliamp-hour.
A measurement of power calculated by multiplying Ampere by Voltage (A x V = W).
A small low amperage 2 pin connector for batteries on micro drones, often 2”-3.5” sized drones.
The most common type of battery connector found in the fpv hobby. This is a standard battery connector for 4”-8” sized drones.
A larger connector, rarely used, only useful for a drone that needs extremely high amp draw, 8” and larger.
A wide variety of connector types, all small and low power, some with more or less pins for uses such as battery connector, camera connector, or the wire harness from ESC to FC.
The RC controller you hold in your hands to control the aircraft. It has 2 sticks, with 2 axis each, giving you 4 axis of control, plus additional switches to control modes and functions of the drone.
Receiver or RX
The part of the drone that receives signal from the transmitter and turns your stick commands into a signal that the flight controller/fc can understand. Many receivers use a unique communications protocol.
Failsafe or RXloss
What happens when the radio link between the transmitter and the receiver fails and the drone is no longer being controlled by you. The safest thing to happen during failsafe is for the drone to drop out of the sky harmlessly, instead of trying to continue to fly autonomously, where it might fly into somebody or their property an cause excess damage.
The camera on the drone that provides the live video feed to your fpv goggles or monitor, used to view as if from the cockpit in order to pilot the aircraft more accurately.
Video Transmitter (VTX)
The device that transmits FPV camera’s video signal out of the drone into the airwaves. The signal comes on a specific frequency that needs to be tuned into to receive it.
The interface between radio waves in the air, and any transmitting or receiving radio hardware. The frequency of the radio waves determines the length of the active element. The shape, orientation, and placement of the antenna all significantly affect how well it will accept or transmit data.
Diversity antenna systems use two or more antennas and sets of rx/tx hardware to improve the transmission or reception system of radio waves. Having duplicate radio hardware allows you to duplicate antennas, thereby allowing you to mount each antenna perpendicular to the other, which most often optimizes reception/transmission performance.
A system of video transmission and reception that uses simple analog radio waves to communicate. This results in low latency and low quality video that is easily disrupted with interference.
A system of video transmission and reception that uses encrypted digital radio communications. The signal has much higher capacity for higher video quality, up to HD resolutions, and higher frame rates. It also has the ability to perform better with interference.
Video goggles you wear on your face with a video receiver built in to receive the FPV video feed and turn it back from radio waves into a video signal on a set of screens in front of your eyes. The field of view (FOV) in the goggles is an important factor to determine how immersive the goggles are.
Some people choose to use a small video screen instead of a pair of goggles to watch their live video feed, and this is typically a video monitor mounted to a tripod with a video receiver and power supply mounted to it as well, to create a ground station.
The part of the drone that creates thrust to fly. There are 4 propellers on a typical quadcopter drone, and each one spins independently, 2cw and 2ccw direction.
Most people who fly FPV carry around an HD camera in addition to the FPV camera to capture their flight in HD resolution to be able to show their friends, or use for professional shoots. Most commonly this camera is a GoPro strapped to the front of the drone using a 3D printed TPU mount.
A part of a drone that is optional to include in a build, but it provides information via beeping codes while flying in the field. It also is a great way to help find the drone in instances where you crash the drone in a place you cannot easily find it.
A Plug and Play drone is one that you buy pre built with everything in it ready to go except for the receiver. This is because the receiver is the part that requires compatibility with your transmitter.
Almost Ready to Fly or ARF drones are very similar to PNP. They are pre built but are missing a part, usually the receiver, or are missing a step to be able to get in the air flying immediately. ARF is a less commonly used term.
Bind and Fly drones come pre built with everything you need to get it up in the air quickly. It comes built and setup in the flight control software, the only thing you have to do is bind the drone to your transmitter.
Ready to Fly drones come fully built and setup ready to fly. Oftentimes RTF means it comes in a kit with propellers, a battery, a transmitter, and optionally video goggles. Sometimes you will see RTF referring to just a BNF drone that is “ready to fly” but the true meaning of RTF indicates that you can literally power on the gear and fly it from the box.
The axis that provides equal power to all motors equally, creating thrust.
The axis that rotates the drone by lifting either the right or the left side of the aircraft achieving rotation on a central axis.
The axis that rotates the drone by lifting either the front or the back of the aircraft achieving rotation on a central axis.
The axis that rotates the drone along a flat plane either right to left along a central axis.
Usually a sharp maneuver that happens only on one axis at a time, either the pitch or the roll axis to achieve a simple 180 or 360 degree rotation on a single axis.
A maneuver where the aircraft flips inverted 180 degrees on the pitch axis backwards while climbing, and rolls out of it by rotating 180 degrees on the roll axis.
A dive, often a building dive, is a maneuver where the drone essentially free falls next to, along with, or inside of an impressive structure such as a building, tower, or maybe antenna sometime that was not noticed.
A gap is any space between two objects where your drone might fit. Shooting this gap usually requires tactile precision.
A split s is nearly the reverse of an immelmann, you enter it by rolling 180 degrees and falling down, often towards a gap, and then you apply throttle and pitch back out of the fall, often flying forward through the gap.
A large rotating backwards flip where you stay on the throttle during the first 50% and the last 25% to achieve a very even circle, often around an obstacle.
A large rotating front flip, often through a gap or around an obstacle. This maneuver is done mostly blindly, and is named for MattyStuntz who popularized the maneuver with his fast paced high uptilt style of flying.
Circling an object while facing inwards towards that object. This maneuver requires a precise mix of all 4 controls to maintain an even rotation, elevation, and counter rotation to keep the camera pointed at the same spot the whole time.
A back-in orbit, where the drone is at a high enough angle of upward pitch for the camera to view the top of a tall and narrow obstacle like a light pole, or a smoke stack and perform a reverse orbit around that obstacle.
A maneuver including a number of half and full flips and rolls in quick succession. The most common version of this trick is a half flip, followed by a full roll, followed by another half flip.