Differences Between UAV And Model Aircraft


Recently, I heard someones has been sentenced because of unauthorized manipulation of the UAV. A little surprise because in my opinion, UAVs and model aircraft almost the same, what’s the differences between them?

UAVs are controlled by radio remote control device or its programs device control of unmanned flight vehicle, don’t need a driver, they are drived by remote control or autopilot flight technology. And model airplane is a heavier than air, size limitation, but can’t remote control of manned spacecraft. Generally can be divided into free flight classes, line manipulation class, radio remote control and so on.Although UAVs and model aircraft are unmanned aerial vehicle, but they are different.


UAV payload is an important part of the UAS, UAV by loading a variety of different load to achieve its mission. In remote control, because of different remote indicators, UAV may automatically default to the world, and the model aircraft is within line of sight range or radius of several kilometers.

In automatic control, the UAV is able to intelligently respond to various situations, required to perform the task, and the ground station for data integration and task confirmation, and request the next step, and most of the automatic control of ship model can realize automatic return after out of control. But for senior model aircraft enthusiasts, as long as the mount effective task “load” to control them, the role of HM fully capable UAV. This is not a fairy tale, Ardupilot is a famous DIY UAV project, in the use of the Arduino platform development of automatic driving system, the ral implementation of the operation of UAV. And Amazon, SF, etc. Have been testing the waters UAV courier business.

Use For Different Purposes

Early UAV is applied to the war, military tasks, with the development of  technology, the use of UAVs in civilian aspects become more widespread, such as forest fire prevention, border smuggling, highway patrol, prospecting and other applications. HM model more focus on the model airplane movement, the participation international competition of all project, model aircraft enthusiasts exchange study and so on.

Flight Control System

UAVs autonomous driving, flying over the horizon, through a complex central flight control systems, interacts with the ground control parameters, control the attitude of the aircraft and motor, is the program control. Although HM is unmanned, but in the hands of the line of sight by manipulating the hand remote control to achieve mobility and attitude adjustment.

However, nowadays in some high-ed model aircraft system, can realize automatic return function, over the horizon intellectualized operation of flight. Now, restricted by the level of artificial intelligence development, UAVs and model aircraft are unable to get rid of dependence on people.

Security Management

At present, the ship model is mainly composed of aviation sports management center under the national sports commission, UAV is managed by the civil aviation administration of China. Model aircraft and UAV lack of defined, makes the responsibilities between the civil aviation administration and sports administration is not very clear.

However in the USA which civil aviation safety management is more perfect, the federal aviation administration (FAA) UAV can be divided into three categories, as a public aircraft drones; as a civilian aircraft UAV; and as a model of unmanned aircraft machine.

According to the law of USA, satisfy the following conditions model aircraft, does not belong to the category of UAVs:
1) In the atmosphere have the ability to continue to fly;
2) Aircraft purely for the purpose of entertainment or hobby to run;
3) Operating within sight of the operator;
4) Model aircraft at the airport five miles range shall notify the airport and air traffic control tower;
5) Model airplane aircraft operators shall not prevent someone.
Only meet these five requirements can be proved it does not belong to the UAV, and saving the UAS airworthiness certification exemption future FAA regulations enacted.

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