UAV Glossary of Terms
The endless list of acronyms for any new comer to the world of unmanned aircraft can often be confusing and a little overwhelming. The UAV Insider have created an “evergreen” glossary of some of the more common terms, which we will continue to update to help you get started.
CASA – Civil Aviation Safety Authority. An independent statutory authority whose primary function is to conduct the safety regulation of civil air operations in Australia. Rules governing all unmanned aeronautical activities are consolidated under CASA’s CASR part 101.
FPV – First Person View. A technique that enables an operator to assume a cockpit view using a display screen or video goggles, with a wireless, real-time connection to an on-board video camera.
GCS – Ground Control Station. A system of software and hardware receiving telemetry data from an unmanned aircraft to monitor its status, and transmit in-flight commands.
LOS – Line of Sight. A term used to refer to an unmanned aircraft that is operated within a pilot’s direct visual range.
PIC – Pilot in Command. An unmanned aircraft that is flying in a state of direct control by a UAV operator (i.e. not in autonomous flight). In this instance, the operator can also be referred to as the Pilot in Command.
POI – Point of Interest. A target location for the capture of remotely sensed data by a UAV’s sensors (i.e. video, still or multi-spectral imagery).
RTL – Return to Launch. The return of an unmanned aircraft to its original launch location. Also known as ‘homing’ and often performed as a safety procedure in the event of a technical malfunction or emergency.
UAS – Unmanned Aerial System. A term growing in prominence that encapsulates the unmanned aircraft together with its ground-based controller, and the system of communications connecting the two.
UAV – Unmanned Aerial Vehicle. A remotely piloted aircraft that doesn’t carry a human operator.
VTOL – Vertical Take Off and Landing. The capability of an aircraft to take off and land vertically, transferring to or from forward motion at heights required to clear surrounding obstacles. Generally applied to rotary-wing UAVs although also possible by some fixed-wing aircraft.