Lesson 1 – UAV Terminology – Mechanics & Types



CG Center of Gravity“; this is the point on the aircraft where there is equal weight distributed on all sides.
Clamp A “tube clamp” is a device normally used on a round tube in order to connect it to another device (such as a motor mount or a UAV’s body).
Connectors In order to plug and unplug wires, connectors are used at the ends of wires. Common connectors for batteries are Deans & XT60, while connectors for the flight controller and sensors are 0.1″ spaced
Dampeners These are molded rubber parts used to minimize vibration transmitted throughout a UAV
Frame The frame is like the “skeleton” of the aircraft and holds all of the parts together. Simple frames have motors connected to aluminum or other lightweight extrusions (“arm”) which then connect to a central body.
G10 This is a material commonly used instead of carbon fiber to make a UAV’s frame since it is very rigid and lightweight, but significantly less expensive
Landing Gear
Multirotor landing gear normally does not have wheels as you might find on an airplane – this is to prevent it from moving when on the ground and reduce overall weight.
LED Light Emitting Diode“. These are used to make the UAV visible, primarily at night or low lighting conditions.
Prop Guards “Propeller guards” are material which curround a propeller to prevent the propeller from contacting other objects. They are implemented as a safety feature and a way to minimize damage to the UAV
Retract “Retractable” normally refers to landing gear which has two positions: one for landing and takeoff, and another, which takes up less room or improves visibility, during flight.
Shell This is an aesthetic / functional cover used to improve resistance to the elements and sometimes improve aerodynamics. Some production UAVs only have a plastic shell which also acts as the “frame”.


ARF Almost Ready to Fly“: a UAV which comes assembled with almost all parts necessary to fly. Components like the controller and receiver may not be included.
BNF Bind and Fly“; the UAV comes fully assembled and includes a receiver. You only need to choose a compatible transmitter and “bind” it to the receiver.
DIY Do It Yourself“, which is now commonly used to mean “custom”. This normally involves using parts from a variety of different suppliers and creating or modifying parts.
Drone This is synonymous with UAV. The term “drone” seems to be more common for military use whereas “UAV” is more common for hobby use
A UAV which has six motors / propellers.
Multirotor “Multirotor” simply means an aircraft with multiple rotors
Octocopter A UAV which has eight motors / propellers.
Quadcopter A UAV which has four motors / propellers and four support arms. Configurations are normally “+” (the front of the UAV faces one of the arms) or “X” (the front of the aircraft faces between two arms).
RTF Ready To Fly“: a UAV which comes fully assembled with all necessary parts. Simply charge the battery and fly!
Size (mm) “Size” is normally provided in millimeters (ex 450mm) and represents the greatest point to point distance between two motors on a UAV. Size can also determine the “class” of UAV (micro, mini etc)
Spyder A “Spyder” type UAV (normally quad or hex) is one where the supporting arms are not symmetric in bot haxes when looked at from the top.
Tricopter A UAV which has three motors / propellers, and usually three support arms
UAV Unmanned Aerial Vehicle” (of any kind)
V-Tail A UAV which has four arms, of which the rear two are at an angle to form a ‘V’
X4 / X8  X4 and X8 are UAV configurations with four support arms; X4 configurations have one motor at the end of each arm, whereas X8 have two motors per arm (one facing up, the other facing down)
Y3 / Y6 Y3 and Y6 are UAV configurations with three support arms; Y3 configurations have one motor at the end of each arm, whereas Y6 have two motors per arm (one facing up, the other facing down)

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