What does PNP, BNF, RTF, and ARF mean – Which one should I buy now?

For the first time, for example, Banggood (very good source of supply for FPV beginners) wants to buy something, you will quickly encounter these abbreviations next to the drones: PNP, BNF, RTF and more rarely ARF. What this means and what exactly it means will be clarified here.

What does PNP, BNF, RTF, ARF mean? What do these abbreviations stand for?

Mein Babyhawk PNP

I remember the first time I wanted or bought a racing drone from Banggood. I think I saw a Mr.Steele video on Youtube before and was all on fire. I had to buy something directly! Unfortunately, I had hardly any idea of the whole thing (I would have really wished for a site like and I simply bought a Babyhawk. PNP. Das sollte mir später noch ein paar Probleme bereiten, denn ich wusste einfach nicht, wofür PNP steht.

A drone without a receiver

Well, I did. At least I knew that you can have a remote control for the drone and I also knew it had to be digital. So I borrowed one from my cousin while I was waiting for the delivery from Banggood. Unfortunately, it slowly became clear to me that I had bought a drone without a receiver. Because PNP stands for Plug and Play, which means: “You have to connect something before you can start”. If I would have gotten myself a BNF or RTF! =)
So the three-letter abbreviations stand for the equipment of the Copters. Here in detail:

PNP – Plug and Play

Plug and Play actually sound quite good, since in the computer world it means that we simply have to connect a device and use it directly without having to install any other drivers. In the FPV world it, unfortunately, means something different: Here it is the lower end of the flagpole, so to speak when it comes to fully assemble FPV racers. Here you have to put on your hand again, the Quad still lacks a Lipo battery and a Receiver, which have to be purchased in addition. It is to be paid attention that the protocol of the Receivers fits the remote control! For my Babyhawk I have then the FS-A8S Mini-Receiver for a FlySky spark. Also “Plug and Play” is mostly not to be taken quite literally: At my Babyhawk there were pins for a plug on the flight controller to connect a receiver, but the plug on the receiver was too big to get it on the pins. So I had to pinch the plug off the receiver and solder the cables “by hand” to the flight controller. So no Plug-and-Play xD. And soldering I couldn’t even solder then! =)

Emax Babyhawk mit FlySky FS-A8S Mini Receiver FPV Racing Drone Drohne FPVRacingDrone Race Copter
Emax Babyhawk mit FlySky FS-A8S Mini Receiver

BNF – Bind and Fly

BNF – Bind and Fly models are a bit more pleasant. BNF has already built in a receiver so that you only have to ‘bind’ the spark and then fly. Here soldering is no longer necessary. Important is, however: BNF models come without remote control, i.e. you must still buy one in addition or you already have one. Then it is important that the receiver has the same protocol as your radio.

That’s why BNF models usually have a second selection. Here at the Eachine Lizard 105S  e.g. you can choose between FlySky, Specktrum, and FrSky. What are the advantages and disadvantages of the different protocols? hier read about it. You will also have to learn how to connect spark and drone, here you will learn how to binds.

RTF – Ready to Fly

Ready to Fly’ are the magic words for the beginner, because here you don’t have to do anything anymore. RTF models come with a built-in receiver in the Racer and have a spark with them, which ideally already works with the model. bundled ist. At least one battery is also included because RTF means that you can fly off without having to buy anything else. My first 5″ Racer was a Eachine Wizard X220 RTF (in the meantime there is already an X220S and the rather blatant Assistent TS215, the latter not as RTF), where an FlySky FS-i6 was there. So I could start right away. I could start right away.
So RTF is the easiest for you. It’s like the DJI drones. What is still missing for FPV flying is FPV goggles. But even without goggles you can fly LOS.

ARF – Fast flugbereit

ARF is another term from the RC model world, but ARF kits are rarely seen in FPV racers. ARF means that the model is mostly assembled, but you still have to install parts like motors and servos. As I said, the term comes more from the aviation world.


As far as the equipment is concerned one can say: RTF > BNF > PNP > ARF


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