What Is Headless Mode On Drones?

What Is Headless Mode On Drones?

Many of the best drones have a built-in feature called headless mode that makes it simple to see your drone’s orientation. In essence, drones operating in headless mode always remember which side was the front of the drone when it took off. In other words, they never forget which direction you were facing and always maintain the pilot’s perspective when making directional changes.

As a result, whether the front side of your drone is facing you or away from you, when you turn the remote controls to the left, the drone will turn to the left and vice versa.

When you lack a clear line of sight to determine the orientation of the drone, headless mode greatly improves your drone’s functionality. Your drone will always behave as you expect it to when you are flying in headless mode.

Drone Headless Mode: What Is It?

The majority of drones have identical front and back views from a distance. It can be hard to know which direction they’re facing when in the air. Different colored LED lights can be found on some drones. You won’t be able to see these LEDs, however, from a distance or when flying into the sun. 

How can navigation be made more straightforward? Put your drone in headless mode.

Headless Mode on a drone is an algorithm-controlled mode that works in relation to your orientation, not your drone’s. It can make navigating super simple.

Your drone will move to the right or left depending on which way it is facing in the air if you press the right or left buttons on the controller. 

What Happens When A Drone Is In Headless Mode?

You must first comprehend the principles of drone flight because they are entirely different from other flying objects in order to comprehend how a drone’s headless mode functions. They resemble flying robots, which have different aerial dynamics from, say, birds or airplanes.

Four blades (propellers) on your drone use airflow to propel it through the air. These propellers have a clockwise and a counterclockwise rotation. Each one has a motor, which controls how quickly they rotate. Additionally, the direction that the drone will travel depends on how quickly a particular set of propellers rotates.

This drone’s flying system enables the following three fundamental manoeuvres: Yaw, pitch, and roll.

  • The drone will yaw when it rotates on its own axis.
  • Pitching is the forward or backward movement of the drone.
  • Rolling is a movement to the left or right.

All flying patterns, regardless of how complex they may appear to be, are built around these three drone movements, so you can combine them in any way you like to fly. So, in order to perform the “advanced” moves, you must become an expert in these fundamental ones.

These maneuvers are accomplished by the drone “pushing” the air in the opposite direction. And that’s when things start to get a little bit murky. The drone pushes the air downward in order to take off. The drone forces the air in a leftward direction in order to roll in the proper direction. The drone forces the air in the right direction so that it rolls in the left direction. The drone spins all of its propellers at full speed to yaw. Depending on whether you’re flying forward or backward, it pushes the air forward or back for pitching.

Why Does Your Drone’s Headless Mode Act As A Compass?

So, after the drone has been in the air for a while, you might not be aware of its true orientation. Eventually, you roll to the left when you intended to roll to the right. And that’s where the headless mode is useful.

In essence, the headless mode functions as a compass for the drone. What about the fact that the compass always points north? It works on a similar principle; flying your drone in headless mode gives you a big “N.”

So, regardless of how you yaw, roll, or pitch, you always have a “reference point” for where your drone is going. It’s a fantastic engineering achievement.

You can tell which way your drone is flying when it’s close by. Its front and back can therefore be distinguished. However, it can be very difficult to distinguish between the two while flying, especially after a while.

You can constantly tell how your drone is flying in headless mode. You gain a firmer hold on your drone and have more control over its movements as a result. That is perfectly logical, isn’t it?

Four Benefits Of Using Headless Mode On A Drone

Headless Mode has advantages and disadvantages. Consider using this setting on your upcoming flight for the following reasons.

  1. Headless mode is good for beginner drone pilots

This setting is perfect for beginners because it enables you to fly almost right out of the box with no experience or technical knowledge. 

  1. Headless mode makes drone navigation super simple

As it works in relation to your orientation, not your drone’s, Headless mode takes away most orientation confusion.

As a result, you won’t turn left when you really want to turn right.

This could mean the difference between flying where you want to go and avoiding hitting a structure (tree, waterfall, or person).

This could be a deciding factor for you if you struggle with spatial awareness.

  1. Allows beginner drone pilots to focus on framing the shot

In headless mode, you can concentrate on framing your shot rather than worrying about the orientation of your drone.

  1. Headless Mode can be a stepping stone to higher-level skills

If you want to take off right away, Headless Mode is the best choice.

Keep in mind that it isn’t used in the majority of commercial drone applications, so avoid becoming overly dependent on it. The best application for it is as a stepping stone to more advanced abilities and FPV (First-Person View) flying.


Five Drawbacks Of Using Headless Mode On A Drone

The drone headless mode has drawbacks in addition to its advantages.

  1. The headless mode won’t give you the skills to operate in other modes

You cannot learn how to fly a drone normally by practicing headless flight.

It isn’t just a different setting – the difference between headless and normal mode is a completely different way of thinking.

It’s much like learning a new language. Simply translating each word in the same order is not an option. Your sentence won’t make much sense. You must develop a new way of thinking if you want to communicate effectively in your new language.

  1. Headless mode can fail

The magnetometer is required by some drones to operate in headless mode. Flying near power lines or other electromagnetic interference can cause the magnetometer to malfunction

In the event that the Headless Mode function is completely lost, you must switch back to normal mode.

You’ll have obvious problems if you don’t know how to fly in normal mode, and you’ll run the risk of crashing.

  1. Headless mode means flying blind (sometimes)

Not always will the camera be pointed in the drone’s direction of travel. Because of this, the camera might film where you’ve been, but not where you’re going.

It would be incredibly simple for this to crash if you were watching it on your display. Only after impact will you realize you struck something.

  1. Headless mode makes bad habits

It can be challenging to switch from Headless Mode to Normal Mode; you might need to break bad habits.

  1. Headless Mode won’t let you earn money from flying your drone

For the most part, commercial drone applications do not employ headless mode. You must learn to fly in other modes if you want to profit from your drone.

How Can I Tell Whether My Drone Is In Headless Mode?

These days, the majority of drones have headless modes.

It is essentially the same thing, even though the manufacturer may brand it with a different marketing term than what was previously discussed.

It is likely prominently written somewhere on your packing since it is one of the highly advertised features, particularly on medium-range drones. It is impossible to miss.

The specifications or marketing material of the specific model will also boast about having ‘headless mode’ (see the Holly Stone HS110D marketing material on Amazon)

The user manual is the most likely place to find it (if it is there) if you still can’t locate it anywhere on your package.

All of the drone’s pre-programmed flight modes, including headless mode, are covered in the user manual.

You can find specific instructions on how to activate the headless mode by downloading the user manual for your particular drone model and searching for terms like “headless mode” or “carefree mode” that are similar.

Should I Operate My Aircraft In Headless Mode?

You might think about operating your drone in headless mode for a number of reasons. This includes:

  • flying in line of sight – if you are only flying your drone in line of sight, it will be easier to fly using headless mode.
  • For obstacle courses – if you have set out an obstacle course and wish to test your drone’s limits, you may wish to fly in headless mode.
  • Follow mode when you are not the subject – following an object is much easier in headless mode when the drone is not automatically tracking you.
  • When purchasing a new drone – if you have purchased a new drone and want to make sure that you have got to grips with all of the important components, you should consider flying in headless mode before taking off on a long flight.
  • Build a new skill – you can use headless mode to build a new skill and capability. Perhaps your job requires you to regularly fly a variety of drones. You can safely fly more drones if you become familiar with the full range of available options and software features.

Since you’ll be concentrating on the drone’s screen and the first-person view on your smartphone or other remote control, flying in headless mode isn’t usually a good idea for photography or video.

The frame of your pictures and videos will be challenging in headless mode. Instead of being relative to the drone’s position with respect to a subject, the joystick directions will always be to where you are.


In conclusion, the majority of drones come with a Headless mode that can be a helpful tool for getting through the learning process.

As a result of the confusion caused by the relative orientation of the drone to you, it will assist you in overcoming your fear and anxiety of crashing your drone.

Switching to regular mode will help you become a more skilled pilot once you’re familiar with the controller’s joysticks and the drone’s behavior.

Don’t forget to learn to fly without headless mode if you want to get into FPV racing drones in the future. Your best friend up until then is the headless mode.

Before switching to normal flying mode when you first start to fly, the headless mode can help you. It’s a fantastic introduction to understanding effective drone flight. In the end, when there is a genuine need for headless mode, it is best to use it.

I like to contrast manual and automatic driving with flying with or without a headrest. Autonomous driving involves the driver and is more fun. However, there are some situations when you want to use automatic. Flying headless isn’t a life-or-death situation, but it has its uses.

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