Air Mode | All about Air mode

flight mode of quad copter

What is “Air Mode” for FPV racing drones?

When setting up Betaflight, you will quickly come across the term “Air Mode” You can find it either under Configuration or under Modes.

Beta Flight configuration through modes.

What does it mean? – Air mode Betaflight Explanation

Air Mode brings stability and is indispensable for FPV Freestyle.

Roughly speaking, it means that the “propellers are always on.” This means that the quad is stable in the air even if you don’t use the throttle at all.

The other way around: If you forget about it, you will lose control of the copter as soon as you stop throttling. Without throttle, the drone will start to whirl around in the air without stopping.

With it is activated, the quad always maintains the same position via the gyroscope and the compensation of the motors. Therefore, the motors are always running in Air Mode.

What is the difference between “Air Mode” and “Acro Mode”?

Acro Mode and Air Mode are not different modes in the sense of “one or the other.” To be precise, Acro Mode should always be combined with Air Mode.

Acro Mode means that the racing drone does not automatically straighten up again but remains at the same angle / in the same position. This is done via the flight controller — but only as long as the motors are running. Without throttle and without Air Mode, they do not run, and the copter can no longer hold its position.

Since you often let off the throttle completely for short moments, especially when flying freestyle, Air Mode should always be activated.

Acro Mode and Air Mode are not different modes in the sense of “one or the other.” To be precise, Acro Mode should always be combined with Air Mode.

Confusion because of the display in the OSD

The fact that you are actually flying in Acro mode, but many are talking about “Air Mode,” is due to the OSD (On Screen Display) of Betaflight. The following modes are displayed here:

  • Angle Mode
  • Horizon Mode
  • Air Mode

However, the latter is actually Acro Mode — but this is the “normal” mode and is therefore not displayed.

wrong display in beta flight testing.
The “wrong” display in the Beta flight OSD

Angle Mode and Horizon Mode can be combined just like Acro Mode with Air Mode (and always should be with anything over 2″.)

Activate Air mode in Betaflight

There are two ways to activate Air Mode in Beta flight:

  • In the Modes
  • In the configuration

Below is the picture, you can see how the Air Mode is set. For this to be visible at all, Air Mode must be deactivated / not permanently switched in the configuration (see below).

The “advantage” of the modes is that you can select for which mode (Angle, Horizon, Acro) it is activated or not. However, since we recommend always have Air Mode activated, it is best to do this via the configuration:

Betaflight configuration for your FPV racing drone.
Switch on Air Mode permanently in the Beta flight configuration

So the propellers are always running as soon as the drone is armed.

Betaflight Anti Gravity

About Anti-Gravity, one can write small scientific papers. Therefore here only very briefly:

What does Anti-Gravity do?

Anti-Gravity increases the value in the PID controller when “punching” (quickly activating the throttle).
This ensures that even with punches, the copter can hold its position well. (Yes, this is simplified — if you want more info, have a look at this video by Bardwell or in German by SimonS).