Many activities have their own language, acronyms, and abbreviations and the world of UAS is no exception.  Here are some of the more common ones.  If you think we’ve missed any please use the contact form to send us your suggestions.


  • ANO – Air Navigation Order
  • ANSP – Air Navigation Service Provider
  • AOA – Aircraft Operating Authority
  • ARTF – Almost Ready To Fly.  Drones supplied in near complete status but which require further assembly to make them airworthy.
  • ATC – Air Traffic Control
  • ATM – Air Traffic Management
  • ATS – Air Traffic Service
  • ATSU – Air Traffic Service Unit


  • BMFA – British Model Flying Association
  • BNUCTM – Basic National UAS Certificate.  A qualification for piloting UAS of >20kg and <150kg.  Administered by EuroUSC.
  • BNUC-STM – Basic National UAS Certificate, small systems.    A qualification for piloting UAS of <20kg.  See also RPQ-s, Administered by EuroUSC.
  • BRS – Ballistic Recovery Systems
  • BVLOS – Beyond Visual Line of Sight


  • CAA – Civil Aviation Authority
  • CAP 722.  Name of the CAA document which describes the guidelines for the safe operation of UAS in the UK
  • CFT – Certificate for Flight Trials
  • CPL – Commercial Pilot Licence
  • CRM – Crew Resource Management


  • DA – Danger Area
  • DAP – Directorate of Airspace Policy


  • EASA – European Aviation Safety Agency
  • ERF – Emergency Restriction of Flying
  • EVLOS – Extended Visual Line of Sight


  • FIR – Flight Information Region
  • FISO – Flight Information Service Officer
  • Fixed-wing.  Conventional aircraft that have fixed wings to generate lift as opposed to rotary wing aircraft that generate lift from one or more rotors powering wings that turn in the horizontal plane.
  • FMC – Flight Management Computer
  • FOP – Flight Operations Policy
  • FPV – First Person View.  FPV drones are those which can supply real time video footage back to the pilot who operates the aircraft using a monitor video goggles displaying the drone’s camera view.
  • FRTOL – Flight Radio Telephony Operators’ Licence


  • GCS – Ground Control Station
  • GPS – Global Positioning System


  • HALE – High Altitude Long Endurance
  • Helicam – Another word to describe rotary driven UAVs equipped with a camera
  • Hexacopters.  Drones with six rotors.


  • ICAO – International Civil Aviation Organisation
  • IFR – Instrument Flight Rules


  • JAA – Joint Aviation Authority



  • Light UAS Scheme™ – EuroUSC’s initiative which integrates EuroUSC’s  Assessment, Accreditation and Assurance services under one umbrella

  • Light UAV Systems.  CAA term for drones that weigh 150kg or less.


  • MAA – Military Aviation Authority
  • MALE – Medium Altitude Long Endurance
  • MoD – Ministry of Defence
  • MOR – Mandatory Occurrence Reporting
  • MRP – MAA Regulatory Publication(s)
  • MTOM – Maximum Take-off Mass


  • NAA – National Aviation Authority


  • Octocopters.  Drones with eight rotors.



  • Quadcopters/Quadricopters.  Drones with four rotors.


  • RPQ-s – Remote Pilot Qualification – small.  An entry level certificate for piloting drones weighing less than 20kg.  Administered by Resource UAS.
  • RTF – Ready To Fly.  Drones so described should be ready for use with little or no assembly required.
  • Rotary-wing.  Rotary wing aircraft that generate lift using one or more rotors powering wings that turn in the horizontal plane e.g. helicopters, gyrocopters, and multi rotor drones.
  • RPA – Remotely Piloted Aircraft
  • RPAS – Remotely Piloted Aircraft System
  • RPS – Remote Pilot Station
  • RTF – Radiotelephony


  • SARPs – Standards and Recommended Practices
  • SRG – Safety Regulation Group
  • SSR – Secondary Surveillance Radar
  • STUAV – Small Tactical UAV
  • SUA – Small Unmanned Aircraft
  • SUSA – Small Unmanned Surveillance Aircraft


  • TCAS – Traffic Collision Avoidance System
  • TDA – Temporary Danger Area
  • Telemetry – Collecting measurements and other data and sending it to a receiving station.
  • Tricopter – Drone with three rotors


  • UA – Unmanned Aircraft
  • UAV – Unmanned Aerial Vehicle.  An aircraft that has no human pilot and which is controlled either by pre programming or flown remotely by a pilot situated on the ground.  Aerial may be substituted with air, airborne, or a autonomous.  Commonly referred to as drones.
  • UAS – Unmanned Aerial Systems.  UAVs and their associated equipment e.g. ground stations, control devices, cameras etc.
  • UIR – Upper Flight Information Region


  • VFR – Visual Flight Rules
  • VLOS – Visual Line of Sight