Flight Modes

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


Copter has 23 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
Airmode--/+Actually not a mode, but a feature,see below
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
Heli_AutorotateAAYUsed for emergencies in traditional helicopters. Helicopter only. Currently SITL only.
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
SportssAlt-hold, but holds pitch & roll when sticks centered
Stabilize-+Self-levels the roll and pitch axis
SysID-+Special diagnostic/modeling mode
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: