What Is Headless Mode on a Drone – (2018) The Real Talk

Headless Mode on a Drone

Quadcopter abstractAlthough the name of the mode might sound ominous, it’s not a drone with its head chopped off.

Now that we’ve cleared that up, we can get on to explaining what this mode really is, why it can be immensely helpful, what are its flaws, and who can benefit from drone headless mode the most.

Ever since the first low-cost drone models appeared on the market, everyone and their grandma wanted to have one. The idea of flying, even by proxy, is just that intoxicating.

However, flying itself isn’t as easy as it might seem to an observer. When you look at birds, their flight seems effortless. When you look at people who have been handling their drones for years, their flips and tricks might seem incredibly simple.

After all, aren’t they simply pushing some buttons and pulling some control sticks?

Sadly, no. If you want to become a good drone pilot, you need to learn how to use all of its features and how to adapt to aerial conditions.

But still, what is headless mode on a drone, and how can it help?

You Might Want to Check Our Buying Guide on a Related Drone: 5 Best Cyber Monday & Black Friday Drone Deals (2018) – Don’t Miss This!

Here’s the Problem

Every drone has a front and a rear. However, when a design is as symmetrical as it is in these devices, it can be tough to discern which is which.

You still don’t see a problem here? Okay, let’s illustrate with an example.

You want to fly your drone. You put it on the ground, and its front is facing away from you, as it should. That way, when the drone starts flying, its forward direction is the same as yours. But if you Man playing with a quadcopter droneturn your drone 90 degrees to the left, so that the left side of the drone points at you, the situation is different.

Now, when you pilot your drone and push the throttle forward, it won’t go to your forward, but to its own. Meaning it will fly to your left.

When you consider this and the fact that you can rotate the drone 360 degrees, you’ll understand why this can be a problem. Furthermore, you’ll understand how a drone headless mode can be just the cure.

Many manufacturers believe that they have resolved this problem by simply color coding the propellers on their drones — blue for the front, red for back, for instance.

Some claim that the LED lights on the drone make it easier to navigate. Although this might be true for nighttime flying, the daylight will make LED lights nearly invisible.

The abovementioned solutions can only be helpful while your drone is near you. Once you send it high up or far away, it will become a small dark speck against the sky, and you won’t be able to tell even if it is turned right side up or not.

What Is Headless Mode on a Drone

Simply put, drone headless mode allows you to stop worrying about drone orientation.

When there’s no headless mode, the drone will easily turn and shift directions in ways you don’t want it to.

When drones first appeared, the headless mode wasn’t a frequent feature. However, when people realized that it could make flying easier and drones safer, manufacturers started adding it as an option. Now, even some budget drone models offer the headless mode.

Some call it the carefree mode, others refer to it as head-free, but it’s all one thing, so don’t let different names confuse you. So now that you know what is headless mode on a drone, we can get into the relevant details.


headless guide 1



Headless Guide 2
Image Source: Manual of Syma Drones


How Does Headless Mode Work

The drone headless mode is a feature that can help you immensely. It connects your drone’s system to your transmitter to allow easier control. This mode uses a magnetometer that’s built into the drone to help steer it in the right direction.

So, if, for instance, your drone starts shifting directions from the side you’re facing, the computer will automatically align it so it starts going in the right direction again. The whole point of this system is to make sure that the drone is facing the side you’re facing. So if you change your direction, the drone’s direction will shift at the same time.

How to Use Drone Headless Mode

To use this option on your drone, you need to activate the headless mode before your drone takes off. Activation isn’t complicated at all. You just need to put your drone on the ground in front of you, facing the same forward direction as you are and activate the headless mode.

Young woman holding a selfie droneThat’s it; you just need to take off. Now the direction in which the drone’s forward is won’t matter, you’ll be able to pilot your drone relative to your directions.

On more advanced drone models, there’s a digital compass that enables you to activate the headless mode mid-flight. That option can be handy when you’re trying to learn how to pilot without the assistance of the headless mode. If you get lost, just reactivate the feature and fly your drone back safely.

However, activating the headless mode isn’t always as simple as we’ve described above. So to be 100% certain that you’re doing it right, you should always check the drone’s manual.

What Are the Advantages of the Drone Headless Mode?

*It is definitely budget friendly.

If you buy a drone with the headless mode, it will cost you less than buying a standard drone. You’re wondering what is headless mode on a drone got to do with my budget? Well, firstly, this mode is now available on most recreational drones.

Secondly, if you’re a beginner and you buy a drone without a headless mode, the odds are you’re going to crash it within your first week. So that’s literally money down the drain. However, with the headless mode, you can save your drone from unnecessary damage.

*Helps you to avoid losing your drone or damaging someone’s property.

You see, damaging your drone isn’t the worst thing that can happen. When people can’t discern in which direction their drones need to be going and the headless mode isn’t assisting them in it, these little quadcopters frequently get lost. An even worse scenario is losing control over your drone and having it fall onto someone’s head and injure them, or fall on and damage their property. Easy control will prevent all of this.

*It’s child and beginner friendly.

Whether you’re a new pilot or you’re getting a drone for your little one, accuracy can be tough at first. The headless mode will ensure that there are no accidents, just smooth, accurate flying.

What Are the Flaws of Drone Headless Mode

*The headless mode doesn’t work with the First Person View (FPV). FPV provides better navigation, as you can literally see what the drone sees and then navigate accordingly. The headless function is better for orientation than navigation.

*You’ll rarely find this option on professional drones, as it is considered to be a feature for beginners. So knowing what is headless mode on a drone and its multiple names will help you discern pro and hobby level drones from one another.

*If your drone with headless mode on passes through an area with a high magnetic field, the magnetometer can cause you to lose control over the device. What is headless mode on a drone able to do against interferences? Absolutely nothing.

Who Really Needs to Know What Is Headless Mode on a Drone and How to Use It

If you’re into drone photography or drone videos, you have to know all about this mode. If you equip your drone with a great camera and use the headless mode, you can capture some incredible images and videos. Thanks to this mode, you can navigate your drone with almost perfect precision. All you’ll need then, for perfect results, is a high megapixel count and an amazing video resolution on your camera.

On the other hand, if you’re a beginner, you want a headless mode. It will allow you to get used to piloting your drone without getting confused over directions. Later, you can turn this mode off and learn more about advanced piloting.

And last but not least, this mode is perfect for parents who are looking to get a drone for their kids. Little ones don’t always have the best motor skills, which is exactly why a drone is a great outdoor exercise for them. However, getting them a drone without a headless mode can lead to a disaster. They can lose an expensive toy, injure themselves, injure others, or cause damage to property. With this mode, they’ll be able to grasp drone orientation a lot easier and a lot faster, so they won’t need constant supervision.
Headless Mode on a Drone and How to Use It

In the End

We know that our answer to your question “what is headless mode on a drone” wasn’t short, but we hope we’ve managed to clarify everything in this article.

If you want a drone that’s easy to fly, you should definitely consider using drone headless mode. If you’re a beginner or a novice, we definitely recommend it, as it’ll make learning easier. Afterward, when you’re feeling confident, you can give the regular mode a shot.

However, if you worry about the price tag and that’s holding you back from ordering a drone with a headless mode — don’t. You can find drones with this mode for as little as $13.99!

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