Acronym Buster!

What is a PfCO? What is BVLOS? Who are the CAA?

We have put together a quick guide to acronyms and terms within the drone industry.
We hope you find it useful.

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ARPAS UK
Association of Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems.

A trade association and professional body which supports and acts on behalf of the remotely piloted aircraft community.

BFPVRA
British FPV Racing Association

Promotes interest and participation in the sport of Radio Controlled FPV Model Racing in Britain

BMFA
British Model Flying Association

CAA
Civil Aviation Authority
UK specialist aviation regulator whose role is to ensure the aviation industry meets the highest safety standards.

DfT
Department for Transport
National strategy for transport including setting national aviation policy, working with airlines, airports, the Civil Aviation Authority and NATS (the UK’s air traffic service)

FAA
Federal Aviation Administration

United States official body for aviation

FPV
First Person View (FPV)
FPV flying is flying a model aircraft (or “drone”) using a small video camera mounted on the aircraft and video goggles to see the view from the camera.

FPV UK
First Person View UK
An association of hobbyist radio control drone (or unmanned/ model aircraft) pilots.

GPS
Global Positioning System

A U.S-owned utility that provides users with positioning, navigation, and timing (PNT) services.

IAA
Irish Aviation Authority

Regulating civil aviation in Ireland

MAV
Micro Air Vehicle.

NATS
National Air Traffic Service
Working on critical issues such as environment and data use for the global aviation industry

PFAW
Permission for Aerial Work (PFAW)

No longer in use - now replaced by PfCO

PfCO
Permission for Commercial Operations
.

Operators must have this to legally operate a drone commercially in UK airspace. The PfCO replaced the Permission for Aerial Work (PFAW)

RC
Radio Control

The use of radio signals to remotely control a device

RTH
Return to Home

A systems function to return a drone back to base using GPS when its battery is low, for example.

RPA
Remotely Piloted Aircraft

RPAS
Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems

RTF
Ready to Fly

SAR
Search and Rescue

SLR
Single Lens Reflex
A type of camera sometimes attached to a drone

SOP
Standard Operating Procedures

sUAS
Small Unmanned Aircraft System
UAVs weighting less than 25Kg

sUAV
Small Unmanned Aerial Vehicle

SWARM
Search With Aerial RC Multorotor
A global network of search and rescue volunteers using drones to search for missing persons

UA
Unmanned Aircraft

UAS
Unmanned Aircraft Systems (see also sUAS)

According to the CAA, the term Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) is generally used to describe the entire operating equipment including the aircraft, the control station from where the aircraft is operated and the wireless data link

UAV
Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (see also sUAV)

UAVSA
Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Systems Association

USA based organisation providing information, tools, and resources to engage and inform with the aim of helping sUAS businesses to succeed.

VLOS
Visual Line of Sight
The airborne craft must be able to be clearly seen by the person flying it at all times.

BVLOS
Beyond Visual Line of Sight
Special permission is required to operate BVLOS.