Drone Acronyms

Drone Acronyms2022-04-14T13:23:52+00:00

The drone industry is extremely fond of acronyms, as is all of aviation, which can make it confusing to someone outside the industry trying to understand what it is all about.  Here are some of the most common acronyms to help make everything clearer.

A2 CofC2020-01-16T11:44:18+00:00

A2 Certificate of Competency. The new certification under EASA legislation. The A2 CofC is a remote pilot competency certificate primarily intended to assure safe operations of unmanned aircraft close to uninvolved persons. The certificate assures an appropriate knowledge of the technical and operational mitigations for ground risk (the risk of a person being struck by the unmanned aircraft


Autonomous Collision Avoidance System – this allows the drone to detect obstacles and reroute or hold position in order to avoid them.




Altitude Above Ground Level


Amorphous – thin-film PV cell made from non-crystalline structure with a more glassy structure.


Air Navigation Order – an Act of Parliament detailing the law as it relates to Civil Aviation in the UK


Aerial Photography – a blanket term for all photography taken from a UAV in flight.


Just as multiple solar cells make up a solar panel, panels can be wired together to form a solar array.


Air Traffic Control. The ground-based personnel and equipment concerned with controlling and monitoring air traffic within a particular area.


All Up Weight. The total weight of the vehicle, including all necessary parts.


Battery Elimination Circuit. A circuit that is designed to deliver electrical power to other circuitry eliminating the need for multiple batteries.


British Model Flying Association. The BMFA is the National Governing Body for the sport of model flying. Its aims are to promote, protect, organise and encourage model flying within the UK


Balance of System – the Parts that go to make up a solar system apart form the panels – such as inverters, wiring, mounting systems…


Beyond Visual Line of Sight. Generally a pilot is legally obligated to keep their aircraft in their line of sight, that is visible to the pilot with the naked eye. Legislation is in motion to allow pilots to fly beyond their line of sight which is seen as key to unlocking services such as drone delivery.


Civil Aviation Authority. The CAA came into being as an independent regulator and public corporation in 1972, before which a body known as the Air Registration Board was responsible for regulating aviation.


Civil Aviation Publication. Items published by the CAA all referenced with a unique number


Carbon Fibre – commonly used material in construction of drone because of it’s strength and quality of being lightweight.


Centre of Gravity


DJI – the world’s leading manufacturer of drones based in China and thought to have manufactured more than two thirds of civil drones currently in use.


European Aviation Safety Agency – responsible for safety legislation in civil aviation across Europe. It carries out certification, regulation and standardisation as well as being in charge of investigation and monitoring.


Instrument Flight Rules. IFR means that a pilot can fly using just the data supplied by the aircraft’s instruments, rather than using visual information. The other set of regulations are VFR (Visual Flight Rules)

Interconnection Agreement2020-01-29T14:07:07+00:00

Interconnection Agreement. The agreement between a home owner and the utility companies allowing them to connect their solar panels to the grid and receive a credit for surplus electricity provided.


KW – Kilowatt. A unit of measurement of electrical power equal to 1000 watts.


KWh – Kilowatt Hour. A measure of energy based on using 100 watts per hour.


Light Detection and Ranging. This is a method of survey that measures the distance to a target by illuminating it with pulses of light and measuring the pulses that are reflected back. Common uses for LIDAR would be sea floor or forest mapping and it has recently found a use in precision agriculture.


Lithium Ion Polymer Battery. The most commonly used type of battery used in a drone because of the high transfer rate meaning extremely fast energy release is possible.


Line of Sight. A requirement of current UK law and this means that the pilot can see their aircraft with the naked eye while flying


MCS Microgeneration Certification Scheme. A quality assurance scheme certifying solar installers. If you wish to obtain a FIT certificate for your home, you must use a MCS accredited installer.


Monocrystalline. A cell made from a slice of single-crystal silicon, oriented in one direction.

Mounting Hardware2020-01-29T14:11:06+00:00

Mounting Hardware. The mounting equipment used to secure solar panels to roofs or ground based installations.


National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts. Nesta is an innovation foundation, based in the UK and supported by a financial endowment. They carry out a lot of research into how drones can be used to meet the challenges of today’s world.


No Fly Zone – an area where flights are restricted or forbidden according to the law.


Nautical Mile. Equivalent to one minute of latitude which is sometimes used as a measure of distance in aviation.


Notice to Air Men. A CAA issued time sensitive notice to all pilots to make them aware of unusual conditions or temporary hazards in the airspace.


National Qualified Entry. An organisation given authority by the CAA to train pilots and pass them as qualified as part of the PfCO application process.

O & M2020-01-29T14:12:32+00:00

O & M Operations Maintenance – Ongoing maintenance needs of a solar system including cleaning, repairs, maintenance, monitoring and bill management


Obstacle Avoidance System. Allowing an aircraft to detect obstacles or hazards and take automatic steps to avoid collision with them.

Off Grid2020-01-29T14:39:26+00:00

Off Grid – having no dependence on the electricity grid at all.


Operations Manual. A document detailing everything about a pilot’s business model and operation that must be up to date and submitted to the CAA on an annual basis to maintain a PfCO


Operating Safety Case. An additional set of CAA permissions allowing a pilot to operate their aircraft outside of standard permissions, at reduced distances for example.


Pre-Determined Risk Assessment. A set of circumstances that have been predefined and allow a simple declaration by the pilot in order to fly within.


Permission for Commercial Operations. The CAA granted permissions that allow a pilot to fly their drone commercially.


Pilot in Command.


Polycrystalline – a solar cell made of silicon off cuts oriented in different directions.


PV – Photo Voltaic – the name for the technology that converts sunlight to energy


Recognised Assessment Entity. This is the replacement term for NQE under the new EASA legislation given to organisations who train and issue CAA-recognised certificates to drone operators 


RE Renewable Energy – Energy generated from renewable sources such as solar, wind and tidal power.


Remote Piloted Aerial System. The official term for drone used by the CAA


Ready to Fly. A drone that is already assembled and ready to fly out of the box.

RTL / RTH2020-01-16T09:53:49+00:00

Return to Launch / Return to Home. A command that can be given to the drone to recall it to its starting position.


Speed Over Ground. This can be different to air speed.

Solar Canopies2020-01-29T14:14:51+00:00

Solar Canopies. Solar arrays that are mounted on the ground but at a height that allows the ground beneath to still be used – for car parking for example.

Solar Design Company2020-01-29T14:16:00+00:00

Solar Design Company. A specialist company that can design solar installations that are optimised for energy production.

Solar Efficiency2020-01-29T14:03:01+00:00

Solar Efficiency. The percentage of sunlight captured and converted into electricity via the solar panels.

Solar Inverter2020-01-29T14:08:08+00:00

Solar Inverter. Takes the Direct Current (DC) by a solar panel or array and converts it to Alternating Current (AC) that can be used by homes and businesses.

Solar Tiles / Shingles2020-01-29T14:17:46+00:00

Solar Tiles / Shingles. Thin film like PV strips that can be directly applied to the roofing under felt just like regular tiles / shingles. They are less efficient than solar panels and degrade over time but they are cheaper and more versatile.

Solar Tracker2020-01-29T14:19:10+00:00

Solar Tracker – mounting hardware used in power plant installations that allow movement in the solar panels so they can follow the sun during the day and maximise output.


STA – Solar Trade Association – A UK body working to promote the benefits of solar energy and make it easy for both domestic and business customers to adopt.


Standard Scenario. Standard scenarios are meant to simplify the activities required to the UAS operators. They are defined types of UAS operation in the ‘specific’ category, for which mitigation measures have been determined after a risk assessment is carried out by EASA or by the competent authority


Small Unmanned Aerial System. One of the very many alternative terms for a drone.

UAS / UAV2020-01-16T09:59:26+00:00

Unmanned Aerial System / Vehicle. Another term for a drone.


Vertical Take Off and Landing. Multi rotor craft, as opposed to fixed wing, offer the advantage of being able to take off and land on the spot rather than requiring the space of a runway.


ZNE – Zero Net Energy – when a building or structure generates as much energy as it consumes usually through a combination of renewable energy techniques including solar power.

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