What is Headless Mode on a Drone

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Updated June 27, 2022

If you are new to the world of drone flying, you may wonder what is headless mode on a drone. This is assuming you know what to do with a drone and how to fly a drone. The best flying drones, after all, typically include access to this mode. So what is this mode, why would you use it, and how do you access it? Keep reading to find out.


  • A drone’s headless mode refers to functionality that simplifies orientation while flying.
  • This mode allows for easier flying, fewer accidents, and a better chance to capture useable video when compared to the normal mode.
  • Veteran drone pilots used to other flight modes, however, may find the controls complicated for a little bit.

What Does Headless Mode Mean on a Drone?

Once you discover the definition of a drone, you’ll likely want to learn more about the various functionalities on offer. One such feature is called headless mode. Simply put, headless mode removes the front-facing “head” from the drone’s orientation, helping with control.

Insider Tip

If your drone lacks this mode, you can outfit it with third-party LED lights to better alert you of its orientation.

How Does This Mode Help With Control?

It all boils down to the design of most modern drones. If you’ve ever flown one, you’ve likely noticed that they look virtually identical from the sides, from the top, and from the bottom. This makes knowing the exact orientation rather difficult, especially when the drone is flying many feet above you. It can be hard to determine when your drone goes out of range. In other words, you won’t know which side is up, which could lead to accidents. It’s hard to learn all about level 7 wind resistance with drones, for instance, when you don’t know how to fly into the wind.

Enter Headless Mode

Before drones started incorporating headless mode into their design schemata, manufacturers were forced to put large LED lights on the sides to let users know which side is which. When you engage this mode, however, you control by sight, not by remembering which side is right, left, etc.

Benefits of This Mode

There are some benefits to engaging headless mode on your drone.

Fewer Accidents

The headless mode is known for being beginner-friendly, meaning that it makes flying easier. This, obviously, leads to fewer accidents, which is always a good thing when you are dealing with an expensive new gadget, especially one that flies. This means you won’t fall victim to metallic towers, electromagnetic interference, or other obstacles that vex even experienced pilots.

More Fun

Because the headless controls are suited for amateur flying enthusiasts, that makes using the drone more fun. When you aren’t spending all of your time trying to figure out your drone’s orientation you can focus on, well, flying it.

Better for Filming

Easier controls mean easier framing of shots, which is especially important if you are using your drone to capture overhead shots and the like.


Why does a drone’s orientation matter?

Orientation matters because it refers to how the drone is controlled, meaning left, right, up, and down. This helps you avoid power lines, even for a beginner pilot.

Can it work with FPV?

This mode can integrate nicely with the first-person view, enhancing the flying experience and turning advanced drones and expensive drones into racing drones or gaming drones.

How to activate it?

This depends on the design of your drone and its user interface. Look for a settings tab and disengage normal mode to get started with your drone headless. Otherwise, check the instruction manual and read it up.

STAT: Some drone manufacturers have made determining a drone’s orientation easier by adding color-coded LED lights on each side. Much like the wings of a plane have specific colored lights depending on which wing you’re looking at, you can often tell a drone’s orientation by looking at its LED lights. (source)

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