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I have noticed my drone has headless mode listed as one of it's features.

This poses a few questions:

  • What does this mode do?
  • How is it different from normal mode?
  • How does it work?
  • How do I enable it?
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What is headless mode?

Headless mode is a specialized flying mode that is common in store-bought drones. It eliminates the need for focusing on the drone’s orientation and enables a much easier Line of Sight flying experience. This can make drone flying easier especially for beginners still learning how to control the flight path of the drone.

Whilst it may be useful for beginners to learn flying using this mode, it wouldn’t be too recommended. You can then get used to this mode and then have trouble unlearning it and learning how to fly the drone properly.

The only thing is that when you launch the drone, the front of the drone must be facing away from you to launch properly.

How does it work and how is it different to normal mode?

When you take off with the drone pointing forward, algorithms within the drone’s microcontroller will ensure that any directional changes are compensated. The drone will take instructions based on your current orientation as opposed to normal mode where the drone moves in regards to the drone's orientation, no matter where you are regarding the drone.

For example, if you are in normal mode and the drone is facing toward you, and you press left, the drone will go right (as left in the way it’s facing means right in the way you are facing) whereas, if you are in headless mode, the drone will move left in the direction you are facing the drone.

This diagram illustrates how normal mode is different from headless mode:

diagram

(image source)

This is another diagram showing a more detailed visual of how the drone will move differently in normal mode compared to headless mode:

diagram2

(image source)

How do I enable it?

This will vary from drone-to-drone so one specific answer cannot be given. If your drone has it built-in (which most do), there should be something in the instruction manual saying how to enable it. Most likely it’s a button that needs to be pressed on your controller.

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