What is Headless Mode on a Quadcopter?

Headless mode – a useful feature of the Quadcopter

Headless mode can be a head-scratcher to understand for most people. Luckily, we’re here to help!

Headless mode stems from the problem of orientation that many pilots come across. Because

Quadcopters are relatively small (and get even smaller the further you fly them away). The difficulty of telling the Quad’s front from its back can be hard to control the Quadcopter’s orientation using a joystick.

Headless mode ensures that the Quadcopter will always follow controls from your perspective all the time, regardless of which way the Quad is facing. As long as you initially set up the Quadcopter so that its front is facing yours, worrying about orientations will no longer be a concern. A left command, from your perspective, would automatically trigger a left turn, still from your mood, and vice versa. For example, without headless mode, if the Quad is flying towards you and command it to turn to your right, the Quadcopter would instead turn to ITS right.

This dynamic adjustment process and constant re-orientation are allowed thanks to a “digital compass” inside the Quadcopter’s micro-controller.

Now, if you’re wondering whether headless mode might be the right choice for you, you might want to consider few factors first.

If you’re a beginner who has yet to acquire a Quadcopter, the headless mode can prove to be a headache-less choice. For a new pilot still adjusting to flying a quadcopter, taking complex orientation out of the equation is one less variable to worry about.

Choosing headless mode, however, can limit your options for upgrades. As it stands now, the mode advanced Quadcopter models do not all usually support this mode. It can also be confusing to switch from an intermediate pilot already used to regular flying to headless mode.

For aerial filmmakers, picking headless mode lets you focus your attention on the filmmaking aspect since it closely mimics the perspective and mechanics required to use a video-camera. You do not want to waste 15min of flying time trying not to make any orientation mistakes when your filming is more of a priority.

headless mode

Best headless mode quadcopter

Besides being intuitive to pilot, headless mode Quadcopters fall into the mid-range of drones, price-wise.

The JRC models, for example, can range from $50 to $100, while it’s not uncommon to find other models, like the WLtoys V393, costing around $300. If you are trying to get a taste of the headless mode flying experience, then a trusted brand like the Cheerson CX10 Nano Quadcopter (which is also very cheap) would be an excellent choice to start with.

To summarize, the answer to whether to go the headless mode route or not can be complicated. Despite the intuitive piloting experience it grants, Quadcopter purists favor the regular flying setup. It remains to be seen if the demand for headless mode Quadcopters would elicit manufacturers to produce more advanced models with HM support, but as of now, picking headless mode for your primary Quadcopter would significantly limit your upgrade options. This is why investing in a cheap model is the ideal choice.

You can always get another drone, you know!