What does it Mean?


Airspace – The “Airspace” is the drone’s competition environment, consisting of two (2) straight leg canopy tents fastened together to form a flying envelope approximately 20 ft. long x 10 ft. wide x 6 ft. high. Netting is hung to isolate the drones from participants and spectators. The Missions, Helipad, and Landing Zone are all part of the Airspace.

Autonomous Flight – A flight in which the Drone operates and reacts only to sensor/camera inputs and to commands pre-programmed by the Team onto the Drone Control System. Human control of the Drone is not permitted during this time.

Disqualified – A Team that is “Disqualified” from a Round will not receive a score for the Round.

Drone – A quadcopter that meets the specifications required within the Competitive Event Guide.

Drone Control System – The “Drone Control System” is the hardware and software used to control a Drone during the Rounds. It includes the smartphone, tablet, or computer used to program/code the Drone for Autonomous Flight and the smartphone/tablet and/or gamepad controller used to control the Drone for Manual Flight. Only the Pilot may operate the Drone Control System.

Emergency Landing – For safety reasons, a competition official may ask the Pilot to Land or Power Down the Drone immediately.

End of the Round – As the Round ends, if the Drone is moving, it must be Powered Down immediately and left in place. Changes after the End of Round do not count. The Drone may be retrieved when the judge gives the OK.

Equipment – “Equipment” is everything a Team brings to a Round, including Drone, Drone Control System, propellers, prop guards, batteries, etc.

Handle/Handling – Missions are to be completed by the Drone through its coding in Autonomous Flight and by Pilot operation in Manual Flight. A Spotter is allowed to hand-rescue or handle the Drone and/or detached parts, but, if the Drone is outside the Landing Zone, this results in a Penalty. A Spotter is not allowed to interact with any part of the Missions.

Helipad – The “Helipad” is the 2 ft. x 2 ft. square marked with the letter “H.” It is where the Drone is to be placed before Takeoff.

Hot Table – The “Hot Table” is the table specifically for a Team to connect their Drone to the Drone Control System before the Round begins. At the Hot Table and during the Round are the only times when a Drone may be connected to the Drone Control System, unless specified by a competition official.

Land/Landed – The condition where the Drone is not in flight and is motionless for at least three (3) seconds.

Landing Zone – The 3 ft. x 3 ft. square that surrounds the Helipad. Drones that are Powered Down and within the Landing Zone may be Handled without Penalty.

Manual Flight – A flight in which the Pilot operates the Drone.

Mission – A “Mission” is an element or structure within the Airspace and is an opportunity for the drone to earn points. Requirements are written in the form of tasks that must be observed by the judge as they happen.

Penalty – Missions are to be achieved by the Drone through its programs and Drone Control System. A Spotter may Handle a Drone and/or detached parts and/or spare parts only within the Landing Zone. Instances of Handling a Drone and/or detached parts outside the Landing Zone will result in a minus 2 (-2) points scoring “Penalty” each time. A Team can get up to five (5) such Penalties for a maximum of -10 Penalty Points.

Pilot – The “Pilot” is the participant responsible for operating and controlling the Drone. The Pilot must always remain in the Pilot Area, unless the Team has only one (1) member acting as both Pilot and Spotter.

Pilot Area – The designated area adjacent to the Airspace from where the Pilot controls the Drone during a Round. Only the Pilot may be in the Pilot Area.

Powered Down – The condition where the Drone is not in flight, there is no power to the Drone, and the propellers are not spinning.

Round – A “Round” is when a team competes within the Airspace. The drone takes off one or more times from the Helipad and tries to complete as many Missions as possible. Rounds last 2-1/2 (2:30) minutes, and the timer never pauses. The Preliminary Round consists of Autonomous Flight and the Semifinal Round consists of Manual Flight.

Scoresheet – After the End of the Round, the judge discusses what happened and inspects the Airspace with the Team, Mission by Mission. If the Team agrees with everything, they sign the Scoresheet, and the score is final. If the team doesn’t agree with something, the lead judge makes the final decision.

Spotter – The “Spotter” is the participant responsible for placing the Drone on the Helipad before Takeoff. The Spotter remains outside the Airspace unless the Drone is Powered Down. When the Drone is Powered Down, the Spotter may enter the Airspace to Handle a Drone to reset it to the Helipad for another Mission attempt or to Handle a Drone that has crashed.

Takeoff – The Spotter places the Drone on the Helipad. Power may not be applied to the Drone until the Round begins. Once the Spotter is completely outside the Airspace, the judge will start the countdown (“3, 2, 1, Go”) and the Round begins. At that time, the Pilot may start the Autonomous Flight program or apply power to the Drone to “Takeoff” for Manual Flight.

Team – A “Team” consists of one to two (1-2) participants with one (1) serving as Pilot and one (1) serving as Spotter. In a Team of one (1) participant, the individual may serve as both Pilot and Spotter.