Are all recreational flyers now required to complete an FAA training course?
Yes, as of June 22, 2021, the FAA started requiring all recreational drone pilots to complete The Recreational UAS Safety Test (TRUST) training. So, if you are a new recreational flyer, an experienced recreational flyer, or you are a current FAA certified Part 107 remote pilot (who also flies your drone recreationally), you will need to complete your TRUST training and obtain a Completion Certificate if you have not already done so.
What is the purpose of The Recreational UAS Safety Test (TRUST)?
TRUST was designed by the FAA to educate recreational flyers about important safety and regulatory information needed to safely fly their drone in U.S. airspace. For example, you wouldn’t want operators of motor vehicles driving on the highways without knowing the Rules of the Road, right? The same holds true for our airspace. You wouldn’t want thousands of drone pilots flying drones without knowing the Rules of the Sky either. Nothing could possibly go wrong!
What is the difference between a recreational flyer and a non-recreational flyer?
The FAA defines a recreational flyer as someone who operates their drone for fun or personal enjoyment purposes only. However, if you intend to fly your drone for commercial purposes or for non-recreational use, you will need to obtain a Part 107 Remote Pilot Certificate.
What are the FAA requirements to fly a drone recreationally?
You do not have to be a U.S. citizen nor are there any minimum age requirements to fly a drone recreationally. Anyone can fly their drone recreationally provided they comply with the following:
- Complete the TRUST training and keep a copy of your Completion Certificate with you when you fly your drone.
- Register your drone (if it weighs more than .55 lbs), through the FAA’s DroneZone and affix a copy of the registration number to the outside of your drone.
- Fly only for recreational purposes (for fun or enjoyment). If you also intend to fly for non-recreational purposes you must complete the FAA requirements under Part 107.
- Follow the safety guidelines provided in the FAA’s Advisory Circular 91-57B or of an existing aeromodelling organization (for example, the Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA)).
What are the FAA Rules for Recreational Flyers?
The Exception for Limited Operation of Unmanned Aircraft (USC 44809) is the law that describes how, when, and where you can fly your drone for recreational purposes. In addition to the FAA requirements for recreational flyers mentioned in the above section, make sure that you follow all the rules below so that you can keep people, your drone, and our airspace safe:
- Always keep your drone within your visual line of sight (VLOS) or use a visual observer who is physically located next to you and is in direct communication with you.
- Avoid flying near manned aircraft. You should always remain clear of and yield to all manned aircraft in the area.
- Fly at or below 400 feet above ground level (AGL) in controlled airspace (Class B, C, D, and E) only with prior authorization obtained through LAANC or DroneZone.
- Fly at or below 400 feet (AGL) in Class G (uncontrolled) airspace. Note: Flying drones in certain airspace is not allowed. Classes of airspace and flying restrictions can be found on the FAA’s B4UFLY app or the UAS Facility Maps webpage.
- Make sure you have a current drone registration, mark your drone on the outside with the registration number, and carry proof of your drone registration with you.
- Do not operate your drone in a careless or reckless manner. Examples include:
- Interfering with emergency response or law enforcement activities.
- Flying your drone while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Also, be aware that certain over-the-counter (OTC) medications (such as certain antihistamines and decongestants) may cause drowsiness and could affect your ability to safely fly your drone.
Individuals violating any of these rules, and/or operating their drone in a dangerous manner, may be subject to FAA enforcement action.
Additional safety measures to follow:
- You should always conduct a pre-flight inspection of your drone, flight systems, location surroundings, and weather. Prior to each flight, you should always check:
- Local weather conditions (wind, visibility, precipitation, etc)
- Location of persons and property in your anticipated flight path
- Control links to make sure they are operating properly
- Available battery power
- Condition of your drone’s components (such as props, batteries, motors, electrical connections, etc)
- Have available a good quality first aid kit in the event of an accident with your drone that causes an injury to you or a bystander. You may also want to consider taking a first aid class or other related training.
Do Part 107 remote pilots need to take the TRUST training?
If you only fly your drone for commercial purposes you do not need to take the TRUST training. However, if you also want to fly your drone recreationally (which many Part 107 remote pilots do), then you will need to take the TRUST training and obtain a Completion Certificate. This might seem like a minor inconvenience if you happen to be flying your drone recreationally. But if you are asked by the FAA or law enforcement personnel to show proof of completing your TRUST training, you will be happy that you have a Completion Certificate on your person.
Where can I take the TRUST training?
Although the FAA has developed the educational and test content for the TRUST training, it does not provide a platform for recreational flyers to take the training and the test. The FAA, in collaboration with private industry, provides both the educational and testing content for the TRUST training to a select group of FAA Approved Test Administrators of TRUST (or Test Administrators). They, in turn, offer the TRUST content to recreational flyers for free through their individual websites.
Here is a current list of the Test Administrators:
- Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA)
- Boy Scouts of America
- Chippewa Valley Technical College
- Community College of Allegheny County – West Hills Center
- CrossFlight Sky Solutions
- Drone Launch Academy LLC
- Drone Trust
- Drone U
- Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU)
- HSU Educational Foundation
- Lake Area Technical College
- New College Institute (NCI)
- Pilot Institute
- Proctorio Incorporated
- Tactical Aviation
- UAV Coach
- University of Arizona Global Campus
- Volatus Aerospace Corp
What does the TRUST training consist of?
TRUST training can only be taken online through one of the above-listed Test Administrators. This TRUST training is divided into two sections:
- The first section provides you with easy-to-read materials that consist of certain basic aeronautical information such as an understanding of:
- airspace restrictions (including where you can, or cannot, safely fly your drone);
- safety guidelines for drones;
- community-based organization (CBO) regulations; and
- how to comply with certain FAA drone rules and regulations.
- The second section consists of a series of 23 multiple-choice questions. There are generally 3 answer choices for each question on the test. If you are bad at taking tests, don’t panic! You cannot fail this test. If you answer a question incorrectly you will be provided with information on why the answer you chose was incorrect. You will also be prompted to try again until you answer the question correctly.
How long does it take to complete the TRUST training?
Generally, it can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 1 hour to read through the TRUST training content and complete the test. Some people have completed the TRUST training in as little as 15 minutes. However, I would recommend (mainly if you are a new flyer) that you not try to rush through the material. Remember, the primary purpose of the TRUST training is to teach you important safety information that helps you fly your drone safely.
How do I prove that I completed the Trust training?
Upon successful completion of the TRUST training, you will be able to print out and save a digital copy of your Completion Certificate, which never expires. However, if you lose your original Completion Certificate you will need to re-take the test in order to obtain a new one. Neither the FAA nor the FAA Approved TRUST Administrator will maintain personally identifiable information about the recreational flyer. After you complete your TRUST training, it is not possible to re-print or re-issue your original Completion Certificate.
Is there a minimum age limit that must be met in order to take the TRUST training?
No, anyone (no matter what age) who plans to fly a drone recreationally must complete the TRUST training. For example, what if you recently gave your 12-year-old son or daughter a drone as a birthday gift? Well, they will need to complete the TRUST training before they can fly their new drone. The FAA encourages parents to participate in taking the TRUST training with their minor children. This provides parents with an opportunity to learn the Rules of the Sky along with their children.
How often do I need to renew my TRUST training?
Once you have completed the TRUST training and received a Completion Certificate it is valid for life. However, if you lose your Completion Certificate, you will have to repeat the TRUST training in order to obtain a new Completion Certificate. This is because neither the FAA nor any FAA Approved Test Administrator keeps any information about you in their databases. Therefore, they cannot provide you with a replacement or copy of your original Completion Certificate after it has been issued. It is suggested that you keep both a digital copy and a hard copy of your Completion Certificate so that you have a backup if needed. You might also want to consider having your Completion Certificate laminated to protect it from becoming too worn or illegible.
The current version of the TRUST training is certainly informative, quick, and easy to complete. However, my guess is that as the drone industry matures, there will be additional rules and regulations that recreational drone flyers will have to comply with. Make sure that you are always in compliance with the FAA’s rules and regulations. You can regularly check The Drone Chronicles website for any announcements or changes that pertain to drones and drone flyers.
The goal of The Drone Chronicles website is to inform, educate, offer useful tips and provide other valuable content that will be helpful to drone owners and flyers. I would also encourage you to sign up for our free monthly newsletter, which will include useful insider tips from some of our expert team members.