Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) Acronyms and Terms

UAVUnmanned Aerial Vehicle

UAS – Unmanned Aircraft System(s)

sUAS – Small Unmanned Aerial System – UAVs under 55 pounds.

Drone – Common term most often used by the media and general public to define an unmanned aerial vehicle.

Multirotor – Drone with more than one rotor

Tricopter – A multirotor drone with three motors

Quadcopter – A multirotor drone with four motors – Example: DJI Phantom

Hexacopter – A multirotor drone with six motors

Octocopter – A multirotor drone with eight motors

Fixed Wing UAV – A UAV that flies using a wing to generate lift vs. a rotary wing (helicopter) or multirotor vehicle

Rotary Wing UAV – A one rotor (helicopter) or multirotor UAV

RPA – Remotely Piloted Aircraft

RPAS – Remotely Piloted Aircraft System

RPV – Remotely Piloted Vehicle

ROA – Remotely Operated Aircraft

UA – Unmanned Aircraft

Ardupilot – Open source UAV system which allows fully autonomous flight and navigation.

FAAFederal Aviation Administration – US national aviation authority

FAR – Federal Aviation Regulations

FMRAFAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 Subtitle B pertains to Unmanned Aircraft systems

ATC – Air Traffic Control

ATM – Air Traffic Management

CoA – Certificate of Waiver or Authorization – FAA certificate of approval for specific flight operation.

NAS – National Airspace System

SAA – Sense and Avoid

NPRM – Notice of Proposed Rulemaking

NTSB – National Traffic Safety Board

NOTAMNotice to Airmen

RTCARadio Technical Commission for Aeronautics

RCAPARemote Control Aerial Photography Association

AMAAssociation of Model Aeronautics

AUVSIAssociation for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International

FPVFirst Person View – Method of flight in which UAV pilot controls the vehicle via a camera mounted on the vehicle which provides a view as if the pilot/operator were flying aboard the vehicle and viewing from a pilot’s perspective.

FCC – Federal Communications Commission

LOS – Line of Sight. Method of flight in which the UAV pilot/operator maintains direct visual site of the vehicle.

VLOS – Visual Line of Sight

BLOS – Beyond Line of Sight

GCS – Ground Control Station

RTL – Return to Launch – Programmed function by which a UAV can return autonomously to it’s original launch point.

PIC – Pilot in Command

VTOL – Vertical Take Off and Landing

GPSGlobal Positioning System

Photogrammetry – Method of making measurements based off photographs

Photogrammetric Mapping – Method of map making using measurements from photographs

Multispectral Image  – Image that captures data at specific frequencies across the electromagnetic spectrum.

Hyperspectral Imaging – Method of measuring across the electromagnetic spectrum to obtain the spectrum for each pixel in an image in order to find objects, identify materials or detect processes.

Lidar – Light Detection and Ranging. Remote sensing technology that measures distance with a laser.

UV Sensor – Sensor used to detect Ultraviolet light

Thermal Sensor – Sensor used to detect heat

EO/IR – Electro-optical/Infrared – Pertains to Electro-optical/Infrared sensors

GimbalPivoted support that allows rotation about a single axis – Often used to stabilize a video camera on a UAV.

Precision AgricultureFarming management concept based on observing, measuring and responding to inter and intra-field variability in crops.

AGL – Above Ground Level

R/C – Radio Control

LiPo – Lithium Polymer Battery – Commonly used type of battery for sUAVs.

SAR – Search and Rescue

VO – Visual Observer – UAS flight crewmember who assists UAS pilot with collision avoidance