Drone, UA, UAV, UAS, Quadcopter. With so many names being thrown around it can be easy to get lost, but whether a professional or a hobbyist, learning the terms can be quite simple.
Beginning with acronyms, the main three are UA, UAV, and UAS. UA is simple and it stands for Unmanned Aircraft referring to the object in the air. UAV is not to be confused with UV, which stands for Ultraviolet. These are the rays the sun emits and the reason for sunscreen, completely unrelated. UAV actually stands for Unmanned Aerial Vehicle, a term often used in the military for the large scale aircraft used in reconnaissance missions. UAS is another term commonly used, and this stands for Unmanned Aerial System. Typically found in the academic or scientific realm, UAS refers to not only the aircraft itself, but also the remote control unit, the software control system, and even the operator. All of these encompass the “System” that go into the operation of an Unmanned Aircraft. In short, UAV refers to the vehicle itself whereas UAS refers to the system in its entirety including the operator, controller, power source, etc. Rather self-explanatory, V – Vehicle, S – System.
Other terms such as drone and quadcopter seem to be more popular amongst the hobbyist community. Drone is the most commonly tossed around term, and can often carry quite a negative connotation due mostly to the media’s penchant for reporting on “shock” stories about these incredible machines. “Drone crashes into White House lawn”, “Drone obstructs forest fire efforts”, and “Drone hits plane coming in for landing” are just a few examples of the media giving Unmanned Aircraft a bad name (side note, the drone that reportedly crashed into a plane was actually just a plastic bag). Quadcopter, or quad for short, refers to the type of aircraft itself. A quad has four arms, motors, and propellers. There are many variants including hexacopter, octocopter, and so on. There are also fixed wing styles that are similar to passenger airplanes we see every day.
It can get hectic trying to keep up with the drone industry. Hopefully this guide helps you keep the UAV lingo straight and allows you to keep track of all the quadcopters in the air. With a variety of services available, knowledge on the current laws, and operational experience, everything is lined up for you to FlyWeihe. This is the technological future of our world, and Weihe Engineers Inc. is proud to be at the forefront. If you’d like to discuss UAS services available from Weihe Engineers, please contact our Vice President of Surveying, Brady Kuhn, P.S. at (800) 452-6408.