What is Headless Mode in Drones? Pros and Cons

Drones have become increasingly popular in recent years, not only for recreational purposes but also for various professional applications. As drone technology continues to advance, new features and functionalities are constantly being introduced to enhance the user experience and expand the capabilities of these unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). One such feature is the headless mode, which offers a unique flying experience and simplifies drone control for both beginners and experienced pilots.

Drones are equipped with multiple sensors and onboard systems that enable them to maintain stability and maneuverability during flight. However, controlling a drone can be challenging, especially for beginners who are not familiar with the orientation and control mechanisms. This is where headless mode comes into play, offering a solution to simplify the flying experience.

Quick Answer

Headless Mode is a feature commonly found in drones that allows the pilot to control the drone based on their own orientation, rather than the drone’s orientation. In other words, it eliminates the need to worry about which direction the front of the drone is facing. This can be particularly useful for beginners or those who are not yet familiar with controlling a drone.
When Headless Mode is activated, the drone’s flight controls are based on the position of the pilot, regardless of where the drone is facing. For example, if you push forward on the controller stick, the drone will move away from you, regardless of whether it is facing towards you or away from you. This makes it much easier for new pilots to navigate and control their drones without having to constantly adjust their movements based on the drone’s orientation.

What is Headless Mode In Drones?

Headless mode is a flight mode feature available in many drones that allows the pilot to control the drone’s movement based on their perspective, regardless of its actual orientation in the air. In other words, regardless of which direction the drone is facing, the controls remain the same relative to the pilot’s position.

How Headless Mode Works

When headless mode is activated, the drone’s onboard computer recalibrates the control inputs to correspond with the pilot’s perspective. It achieves this by using the drone’s internal compass or GPS to determine the relative position of the pilot and adjust the control signals accordingly. This way, the pilot can fly the drone without worrying about its orientation in relation to themselves.

Advantages of Headless Mode

  • Simplified Control: Headless mode eliminates the need for the pilot to adjust their controls based on the drone’s orientation constantly. This simplifies the flying experience, particularly for beginners who may find it challenging to manage the drone’s movement accurately.
  • Intuitive Flying: By decoupling the controls from the drone’s orientation, the headless mode allows the pilot to navigate the drone as if they were physically onboard intuitively. This makes performing smooth and precise man oeuvres easier, enhancing the overall flying experience.
  • Reduced Learning Curve: Headless mode reduces the learning curve associated with drone piloting. Beginners can quickly grasp the controls and focus on exploring the drone’s capabilities without being hindered by the complexities of orientation.
  • Enhanced Safety: With headless mode, the risk of losing control due to incorrect orientation is significantly reduced. This feature provides a safety net by ensuring that the drone responds to the pilot’s inputs according to their perspective, regardless of how it is positioned.

Disadvantages of Headless Mode

  • Lack of Orientation Skills: Relying solely on headless mode can hinder the development of orientation skills required for manual drone piloting. Pilots who exclusively use headless mode may struggle to transition to normal mode or face difficulties flying drones without this feature.
  • Limited Range of Application: While headless mode is beneficial for basic flights and aerial photography, it may not be suitable for advanced operations that require precise control and orientation awareness. Professional drone pilots often prefer manual control to maximize the drone’s capabilities.

Headless Mode vs Normal Mode

In normal mode, the drone’s controls are directly linked to its orientation in the air. This means that forward movements require the drone to face the direction it intends to move. On the other hand, headless mode separates the controls from the drone’s orientation, allowing the pilot to navigate the drone based on their perspective.

Headless Mode in Different Drone Models

Headless mode is a common feature found in many consumer-grade drones. Various popular drone models, such as the DJI Phantom series, the Parrot Bebop, and the Holy Stone HS720, offer headless mode functionality. However, it is essential to consult a specific drone model’s user manual or product specifications to confirm whether it supports headless mode.

Tips for Using Headless Mode Safely

Read the Manual: Familiarize yourself with the drone’s user manual to understand how headless mode works and any specific instructions or limitations associated with it.

Start in Open Areas: When using headless mode for the first time, practicing in open areas with no obstacles is advisable to minimize the risk of accidents.

Gradually Transition to Normal Mode: If you primarily rely on headless mode, gradually practice flying in normal mode to improve your orientation skills and expand your piloting capabilities.

Popular Drone Models with Headless Mode

  1. DJI Mavic Air 2
  2. Holy Stone HS720
  3. Parrot Bebop 2 Power
  4. Potensic D88

Future Developments in Headless Mode Technology

As drone technology continues evolving, headless mode will likely see further advancements. Future developments include improved orientation algorithms, enhanced compatibility across different drone models, and additional safety features to ensure optimal user experience and flight control.


Headless mode is a valuable feature that simplifies drone control by decoupling the controls from the drone’s orientation. It offers a user-friendly flying experience, particularly for beginners, by allowing them to control the drone based on their perspective. While headless mode has its advantages, it is important to practice and develop orientation skills for more advanced drone operations.


Is headless mode available in all drones?

No, headless mode is not available in all drones. It is a feature commonly found in consumer-grade drones, but not all models support it. Refer to the drone’s user manual or specifications to determine if it has a headless mode.

Can I switch between headless mode and normal mode during flight?

Yes, most drones allow you to switch between headless mode and normal mode during flight. However, it is recommended to practice transitioning between the two modes in open areas to avoid accidents.

Does headless mode affect the drone’s flight range?

No, the headless mode does not affect the drone’s flight range. It primarily impacts how the drone responds to control inputs based on the pilot’s perspective.

Can headless mode be used for advanced drone operations?

Headless mode is generally more suited for basic flights and aerial photography. Advanced drone operations that require precise control and orientation awareness are often better performed in normal mode.

How can I improve my orientation skills as a drone pilot?

To improve your orientation skills, it is recommended to gradually practice flying in normal mode, which requires you to control the drone based on its orientation in the air. Regular practice and familiarization with the drone’s controls will help enhance your skills over time.

Leave a Comment