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  • Writer's pictureTyesha Ferron

Everything You Need to Know About the FAA’s TRUST Test

The FAA is encouraging recreational drone pilots to take the Recreational UAS Safety Test.

Credit: Brett Jordan

A Little Backstory

In 2018, the president signed the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018. This Act established new conditions for the recreational use of drones and immediately repealed the Special Rule for Model Aircraft. Currently, the law that governs how, when, and where you can fly drones for recreational purposes is known as the Exception for Limited Operation of Unmanned Aircraft (USC 44809).

According to Section 349 of the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018, drones operated for recreational purposes are exempt from certification requirements if they satisfy other conditions. One of these conditions under the Exception for Recreational Flyers is that recreational drone pilots must take the Recreational UAS Safety Test.

The Recreational UAS Safety Test

Abbreviated TRUST, the Recreational UAS Safety Test is an aeronautical knowledge and safety test that assesses recreational flyers’ knowledge of safety and regulatory information. The FAA is urging recreational flyers to take and pass TRUST as soon as possible. Once they do, they must carry their TRUST completion certificate with them while flying as proof that they’ve passed the test (as outlined in 49 U.S.C. 44809). Recreational flyers must be able to provide their certificate to the FAA or law enforcement upon request, so it is necessary to have it with you whenever you plan to fly for recreational purposes.

Recreational Flights and Flyers

Lack of financial compensation is not the only factor that determines if a flight is recreational. The FAA describes a recreational flyer as “someone who operates their drone for fun or personal enjoyment purposes only,” and a recreational flight is defined as one that is purely for fun or personal enjoyment. They list activities such as capturing images to help sell a property or service, roof inspections, or photographing a high school football game for the school's website as examples of non-recreational uses of a drone.

Even flights operated out of goodwill or without monetary value can be considered indirectly compensated. For example, volunteering to use your drone to survey coastlines on behalf of a non-profit organization would be considered a non-recreational flight.

The FAA advises: “When in doubt, fly under Part 107.”

Taking TRUST

TRUST is available to take for free online through an approved test administrator. FAA Approved Test Administrators of TRUST are said to have both testing content and educational materials. In June 2021, the FAA announced the following entities as FAA Approved Test Administrators of TRUST:

TRUST is divided into two sections. The first section provides you with the information needed to pass the test. The second section is a series of multiple-choice questions. Interestingly, TRUST is set up so that whoever takes the test cannot fail. If a test taker answers a question wrong, they will be given information on why their response was incorrect and prompted to try again. Upon completion, test takers will receive their TRUST completion certificate, which will never expire.

However, if you lose your certificate you can only obtain a new one by retaking the test. Neither the test administrator, nor the FAA, will maintain personally identifiable information about recreational flyers, so it is impossible to reprint or re-issue your original certificate.

Credit: @faa on Instagram

The Essentials

Despite the addition of TRUST, flying your drone recreationally is still a free and relatively simple process. First of all, if your drone weighs more than .55 lbs., register it through the FAA's DroneZone. Then, pass TRUST through an approved test administrator and carry proof of your passage with you during recreational flights. Finally, follow the safety guidelines and rules for recreational flyers on the FAA's website.


Tyesha Ferron is a writer and an artist based in Atlanta, Georgia. Specializing in digital art, Tyesha loves exploring the new ways technology intersects with culture and how drones make things more efficient and accessible for artists, hobbyists, and industry professionals. As a novice drone enthusiast, she continues to be impressed by what the drone community and industry can accomplish.

Instagram: @tyesha.ferron

Twitter: @Tyesha_Ferron

LinkedIn: Tyesha Ferron


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