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What is Headless Mode on a Drone? All You Need To Know | 2023

By: Richard J. Gross
Updated On: April 4, 2023

Headless mode is a feature found on many modern drones that allows them to be flown without the need for the pilot to orientate themselves with the direction of flight.

This mode gives pilots more control over their drones and makes it easier for them to fly, especially in complex environments. It works by using sensors and algorithms that allow the drone to determine its orientation relative to its starting point, even when out of sight from the pilot.

With headless mode enabled, all directional controls are based on where you are standing rather than where your drone is currently facing.

headless mode

In this article, we will explain exactly how headless mode works and why it's such an important feature on today's drones. We'll also look at some FAQs regarding headless mode and how you can use it to your advantage.

Also Read: Drone Part 107 vs. Recreational Rules

What does headless mode mean on a drone?

Headless mode is a feature on some drones that eliminates the need to understand the orientation of the drone when it is in flight. In headless mode, the controls are relative to the user's position rather than that of the drone itself.

Headless mode is an invaluable feature for beginners, as it removes the need to orient and understand the drone’s location relative to the user. This makes flying much easier and allows users to focus on other aspects of flying, such as camera angles or obstacle avoidance. Additionally, headless mode prevents the drone from spinning in unexpected directions that can lead to the drone crashing or going off course.

When selecting a drone for beginners, it is important to consider the features that are available on the drone. Many of today's drones feature headless mode and other beginner-friendly features such as automatic takeoff/landing, altitude hold, return home functions, and more.

When should Headless Mode be used?

Headless mode is most helpful when flying a drone for the first time or in tight spaces where you don't have much room to maneuver. When flying with headless mode enabled, the controller sticks to control the throttle and yaw (left/right movement) of your drone based on which direction its nose is pointing.

This can make it easier for beginners to fly a drone because they don't have to worry about orienting the aircraft before flying - they can focus on making it go where they want.

While the drone will fly in whatever direction its nose is pointing towards, you'll still need to adjust the directional controls (pitch and roll) by tilting your radio controller until the aircraft moves where you want it to go.

You'll also need to control the speed of the drone by adjusting the throttle and the direction of your camera gimbal with the yaw control.

Also Read, Geofencing on Drones: How it Works? Benefits, Components

How does Headless Mode work?

The Headless Mode activates when the switch is flipped on, and it makes managing a quadcopter with no visible body quite simple. It can be maneuvered in flight using the remote controller or any other compatible device with little to no effort.

Headless Mode in a drone is the latest and most advanced technology. This mode works through the GPS in the drone. When you activate this mode, Headless Mode/Follow Me/RTH Drone flies according to the set forward direction of your controller.

It is suitable for beginners who have trouble with orientation. Headless Mode in a drone makes it easy for beginners to fly drones. You must read the instruction manual before operating any advanced drones with a digital compass.

If some quadcopter manufacturers use terms such as care-free mode or head-free mode, don't be alarmed. They all refer to the same thing and are merely used to promote more quads.

How to turn on the Headless Mode?

Now that you are all about the headless mode, you need to know how to turn it on. It is effortless to turn on the headless mode in any drone.

To set Headless Mode ON, first, turn on your drone and then press the Headless Mode icon on your controller. Then it would be best if you pressed the Headless icon a couple of times until the Headless icon turned solid blue.

Now Headless Mode will be turned on, and your drone will fly according to the forward direction of your controller. If the Headless icon turns off or Headless Mode is not working, make sure the Headless Mode is not touched, and it is turned on.

If the headless icon is blinking, headless mode is off. Once the Headless icon is returned to solid blue headless mode will be activated again.

Alternatively, you can turn Headless mode on by pressing the headless button on your controller. A headless icon will blink for 3 seconds, and then Headless Mode will be turned on. Headless Mode will be turned off if the headless icon blinks for 3 seconds or the headless mode is switched off.

There are always two sides to everything; the headless mode also has different pros and cons. As discussed below,

Pros of Headless Mode

  • The headless mode of drones allows users of the drone to enjoy their flight. Utilizing this mode removes the orientation problem that some pilots face.
  • Headless mode also makes it easier to fly a drone by constantly keeping the same direction as you move your remote control around.
  • It is a great feature for first-time pilots or more experienced ones who want a change of pace.
  • It also reduces the need for users to look at their drones while flying.
  • The headless mode comes in handy when the drone stops transmitting the video feed to the controller, as it can bring the drone back to the controller without having to control it manually.

Cons of Headless Mode

  • It works in FPV mode in many drones; FPV mode is the most commonly used flying mode in drones.
  • It can easily be disturbed by electromagnetic waves and hence can get a glitch while flying around metallic towers or other sources.
  • It can be deemed a flight assistance tool and should not entirely replace the pilot's judgment.

Also Read, 30 Major Pros and Cons of Drones

Can we trust Headless Mode?

Not every technology can be trusted with everything, but the headless mode is not one that you cannot trust. It can never act as a replacement for the pilot's judgment, but it can assist in many situations for accurate flying.

It can be used by beginners, but they should not rely entirely on it. Headless mode is a revolutionary technology and is fast replacing traditional remote controls. The headless mode in drones can be used to enjoy the FPV flying experience without much effort and practice.

headless mode

This mode can be used to avoid obstacles and fly over or under them effectively. Headless mode or one key return is a blessing for new pilots as they can avoid obstacles and fly without any issues. This mode has been one of the most trusted flight assistance tools in recent times for drone pilots.

It's possible to trust the headless mode up to a certain degree, and it won't let you down in the majority of situations; but when it comes to the presence of electromagnetic interference (EMI), it may disappoint.

According to the FAA, you should avoid flying your drone over high-voltage lines, cell phone towers, and other infrastructure. We're talking about close proximity to power lines, communication poles, and other infrastructure. So, as much as possible, keep your quadcopter away from those areas.

Are Headless Mode Drones really worth it?

This is the easiest question to answer after all the details mentioned in the article above because headless mode can come to be useful in some cases where the video transmission of the drone dies while flying.

The headless mode has made drone flying easier, and many pilots who enjoy the FPV flight mode agree that flying with headless assistance is more than enough.

You can get a drone with headless mode for as cheap as 50 dollars and as high as a few thousand dollars. It all depends on your budget and your purpose.

One of the cheapest drones with the headless mode is the Cheerwing Syma X5SW-V3 Headless Quadcopter, which you can buy for just under 50 dollars from Amazon. It is a reasonable price, even for fun purposes.

Also Read, Top 10 Must-Have Drone Pilot Gears


Is it easier to fly a drone in headless mode?

Yes, flying a drone in headless mode significantly simplifies the process for beginners. By eliminating the need to understand orientation, you can focus more on the controls and less on trying to figure out where your drone is facing. This makes it much easier to learn how to fly your drone without getting frustrated or confused.

What is a headless mode on a GPS drone?

Headless mode on a GPS drone is the same as it is on any other type of drone - it eliminates the need to understand the orientation of the drone when it is in flight. When the headless mode is active, the controls are relative to the user's position rather than that of the drone itself. This makes flying and controlling your GPS drone much easier for beginners.

What are the best headless mode drones for beginners?

There is a wide variety of headless mode drones available for beginners. Some popular models include the DJI Mavic Mini, Parrot Anafi 4K, and Yuneec Breeze 4K. Each of these models offers great performance and features that make them suitable for beginner pilots.


The headless mode in drones has revolutionized the world of drone flying. It is a necessary feature for beginners and an aid to more experienced pilots.

With time the technology will be improved, and we may get more intelligent flight assistance tools than these traditional flight modes. For now, you can trust this flight mode and use it without any doubt.

It is all up to the pilot of a drone how they choose to fly their uncrewed aerial vehicle (UAV). It can be flown with manual control, assisted by headless mode, or through programming. In any way, you will have fun flying your device!

Let's have a constructive dialogue in the comments section below about this article. As always, thank you for reading!

Richard J. Gross

Hi, my name is Richard J. Gross and I’m a full-time Airbus pilot and commercial drone business owner. I got into drones in 2015 when I started doing aerial photography for real estate companies. I had no idea what I was getting into at the time, but it turns out that police were called on me shortly after I started flying. They didn’t like me flying my drone near people, so they asked me to come train their officers on the rules and regulations for drones. After that, I decided to start my own drone business and teach others about the safe and responsible use of drones.

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