Flight Modes

This article provides an overview and links to the available flight modes for Copter.


Copter has 20 flight built-in flight modes, 10 of which are regularly used. There are modes to support different levels/types of flight stabilization, a sophisticated autopilot, a follow-me system etc.

Flight modes are controlled through the radio (via a transmitter switch), via mission commands, or using commands from a ground station (GCS) or companion computer.

ModeAlt CtrlPos CtrlGPSSummary
Acro--Holds attitude, no self-level
Alt Holds+Holds altitude and self-levels the roll & pitch
AutoAAYExecutes pre-defined mission
AutoTunesAYAutomated pitch and bank procedure to improve control loops
BrakesAYBrings copter to an immediate stop
CirclesAYAutomatically circles a point in front of the vehicle
Drift-+YLike stabilize, but coordinates yaw with roll like a plane
FlipAARises and completes an automated flip
FlowHoldsAPosition control using Optical Flow
FollowsAYFollows another vehicle
GuidedAAYNavigates to single points commanded by GCS
LandAs(Y)Reduces altitude to ground level, attempts to go straight down
LoiterssYHolds altitude and position, uses GPS for movements
PosHolds+YLike loiter, but manual roll and pitch when sticks not centered
RTLAAYRetruns above takeoff location, may aslo include landing
Simple/Super SimpleYAn add-on to flight modes to use pilot's view instead of yaw orientation
SmartRTLAAYRTL, but traces path to get home
Stabilize-+Self-levels the roll and pitch axis
SportssAlt-hold, but holds pitch & roll when sticks centered
ThrowAAYHolds position after a throwing takeoff
ZigZagAAYUseful for crop spraying
-Manual control
+Manual control with limits & self-level
sPilot controls climb rate
AAutomatic control

GPS Dependency

Flight modes that use GPS-positioning data require an active GPS lock prior to takeoff. To see if your autopilot has acquired GPS lock, connect to a ground station or consult your autopilot’s hardware overview page to see the LED indication for GPS lock. Below is a summary of GPS dependency for Copter flight modes.

Requires GPS lock prior to takeoff:

Do not require GPS lock: