Who Needs to Take the FAA TRUST Drone Exam?

By Pilot Institute
Posted on November 5, 2021 - 4 minute read

Starting June 2021, all drone pilots who do not fly under Part 107 rules are required to take The Recreational UAS Safety Test (TRUST) before they can operate their drones. This applies to all recreational drone pilots regardless of where they are flying and the type of drone they use. The good news is that TRUST is a fairly easy test that you can take online for free.

What is TRUST and why has it suddenly become a requirement for drone pilots who just want to fly for fun? Do all drone pilots need to take it?

Section 44809 and TRUST

In May 2019, the “Exception for limited recreational operations of unmanned aircraft” or what is more commonly known as Section 44809 became law. This provided the legal framework for recreational drone flight and superseded all other pieces of legislation on the topic.

Section 44809 provides restrictions and regulations on recreational drone flight such as flying only within visual line of sight, at below 400 feet AGL, and yielding right of way to manned aircraft all the time. At the time of implementation, Section 44809 already had a provision for an “aeronautical knowledge and safety test” that recreational drone pilots had to take.

Between 2019 and 2021, the FAA worked with industry experts, flight groups, and various stakeholders to develop what would eventually be “The Recreational UAS Safety Test” or TRUST.

This test was not designed so that people can fail – it literally gives you an infinite number of chances to get the correct answer to every question. At the end of the test, everyone who has gone through it will have a 100% rating. The goal of TRUST is to educate recreational drone pilots about the safety guidelines and practices enforced by the FAA.

Do you need to take TRUST if you already have Part 107?

If you have a Part 107 license and are operating under Part 107 rules all the time, then you do NOT need to take the TRUST. The Part 107 knowledge test is several times more comprehensive than TRUST. That said, taking the TRUST is still an option for drone pilots who are certified under Part 107. This allows switching between Part 107 or Section 44809 rules as the situation dictates.

In any case, the TRUST test should be a cakewalk for anyone who already holds a Part 107 drone license. It’s so incredibly easy and quick that there is practically no reason not to go through it.

Where can you take the TRUST?

You can take the TRUST right here in our official TRUST gateway. Pilot Institute is proud to be one of a handful FAA-Authorized Test Administrators for TRUST. Taking the TRUST is completely free, can be done online, and you can go through it in 30 minutes or less.

We also won’t be storing any of your personal information. Once your certificate of completion has been issued, all the personal information you provided will be deleted – so make sure you don’t lose that certificate!

What to do after passing TRUST

Once you have gone through TRUST, you will be given a digital certificate of completion. You can print this out or save it on your phone. The important thing is that you can show proof of trust completion should you be out and about with your drone. Representatives from the FAA or law enforcement may ask you to show this proof of completion.


Do NOT lose your certificate. Since we do not store the personal information of people who take the TRUST, there will be no way to retrieve another copy of the certificate. Of course, you can just go through the whole thing again and get a new certificate but that seems silly. Just keep a backup copy of the certificate on your email or in cloud storage and you should be fine.

More importantly, make sure to register your drone with the FAA before you fly it. Drone registration is a requirement for any drone that is to be used recreationally that weighs at least 0.55 lbs. Make sure to carry proof of drone registration to accompany your TRUST certification. There are also very specific rules for marking your drone with the corresponding registration number.

Final thoughts

The TRUST is the latest addition to the set of legal regulations that the FAA has imposed on the recreational drone flight community. It has been in the pipeline for close to two years and we’re quite happy with how it has turned out.

Although it may seem like another extra step that drone pilots need to take, it really takes hardly any effort at all. The test can be done online, is completely free, requires no preparation, and can be done in less than 30 minutes. We encourage all recreational pilots to take the TRUST not just for legal compliance but to help keep our airspace safe.

Scored % on their FAA Exam