You may describe them as aerial drone cameras, flying cameras, radio controlled copters or helicams. Perhaps you have your own unique name? Then there’s the confusing array of acronyms such as UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle), RPAS (Remotely Piloted Aircraft System), SUA (Small Unmanned Aircraft), RPA (Remotely Piloted Aircraft) and UAS (Unmanned Aircraft System)… Mind boggling isn’t it? Thankfully, it’s becoming clearer.
These various acronyms and names have evolved over time but now the CAA (Civil Aviation Authority) in the UK, and indeed the wider industry, seem agreed on the acronym RPAS (Remotely Piloted Aircraft System). The ‘system’ is the entire kit including the aircraft – everything from the data link which carries the picture to ground station to the camera gimbal. RPA (Remotely Piloted Aircraft) specifically refers to the ‘aircraft’ only and encompasses everything from multi-rotar copters like our Octocopters and Hexacopters, to fixed wing RPA too.
So we’re waving goodbye to the acronym UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle), which is fair enough as Aerial Picture Company fly aircrafts not vehicles… The definition of a ‘vehicle’ is the transportation of people or cargo. That’s not what we do.
That said, we can all still call them by their nicknames so helicams, drone camera and will live on long in to the future.