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TRUST Certification: What It Is, and Why YOU Need It!

Written by Greg Barnes

TRUST Certificate of Completion
My certificate of completion of TRUST, the free drone license required by the FAA for all recreational drone pilots. If you fly for fun and don't yet have this, get yours now!

Here at 2cofly, we love TRUST!

(No, not really.)

(Actually, yes, we do.)

(…Kind of.)

Ok, so here’s the deal: No one really LOVES tests, right? But for what it is, TRUST is pretty great, and we like it a lot.

So what is TRUST? It stands for The Recreational UAS Safety Test, and it’s a free, brief (around an hour) online training / test / certification by the FAA that teaches necessary drone regulations to recreational drone pilots.

Jordan and Greg on a tour of a brewery
TRUST teaches you common-sense flight safety tips like, don't fly a drone within 8 hours of drinking (or visiting a brewery? 🤔)

What’s in it? TRUST includes a host of topics including restricted airspace (which is basically knowing where you’re authorized / not authorized to fly), what is a LAANC and how to get it, flight crew roles, your job as the remote pilot in command, things that can affect the safety of your flight (such as weather, obstacles, your own fitness as a pilot, etc.), and more. TRUST is a very, very good starting point for recreational pilots, especially for beginners whose learning journey still lies mostly ahead of them. And indeed, for beginner drone pilots, that is exactly what TRUST should be thought of as: a starting point in a lifelong journey of learning.

Personally, I (Greg) was very glad when I found out about TRUST. When I first started out as a drone pilot, TRUST didn’t exist, so I jumped headfirst straight into the deep end which is Part 107. But I knew that most pilots don’t bother getting Part 107-certified, and that concerned me. I knew that pure recreational flyers didn't NEED the Part 107 for the commercial end of things, but I thought it would be useful just for the knowledge it provides. I thought, there needs to be a way for ALL drone pilots (not just commercial ones) to know about factors like restricted airspace, weather, etc. — anything that could have a real bearing on the outcome of their mission and on the safety of their equipment and of people and property nearby. That’s why I was glad when I found out about TRUST, and why I like it a lot.

To all recreational pilots, I encourage you to go ahead and take your TRUST test THIS WEEK rather than put it off. “But I’m busy,” some might say. My response: “It’s around one hour, maybe even less; you can make time. Just imagine the all time you’d save if you stopped doing useless things like watching tv, brushing your teeth, or taking the dog for a walk.” Some might respond to me with: “Shut up, mom.” My response? “Who taught you to speak to your MOTHER that way, sweetie pie?”

But seriously, just get it done. It’s important that all recreational pilots do this because you are required to show your TRUST certification and proof of drone registration to any law

2cofly-owned DJI Matrice 300 RTK with magnetometer and terrain following system
An officer can pull you over for a broken taillight. He can ask for license and reg if this is being flown unsafely!

enforcement officer who asks. That’s right: you’re out flying your drone, and an officer asks to see your TRUST cert and drone reg. Show the officer, and you’re good. But if you didn’t bother to get your TRUST, who knows: would the officer just let you off with a warning, or perhaps ticket you? (Better to print out your TRUST and carry that piece of paper around than the one the officer hands you!!) If you just take your TRUST test, you won’t have to lose any sleep wondering what would happen in that situation.

To the recreational pilot who's been flying for years and thinks "Hell, I could teach the FAA a thing or two," and that may very well be true, but still I would say "Look, it's an extremely small investment of your time. It's less than an hour, and you'll never have to do it again (more on that later)." Why not just get it done? There is hardly any way they could have made this training more painless and more accessible.

NOTE: There is some confusion over whether Part 107 pilots need to get their TRUST certification as well. Most websites say no, you don't need to; but a handful of other drone websites say yes, Part 107 pilots need to get their TRUST as well, because Part 107 covers commercial flights, but the TRUST covers recreational. All this confusion is... well, the best word would probably be "confusing." Yes, the confusion is definitely confusing! And here at 2cofly, we HATE confusion! So we decided to go straight to the horse's mouth: We emailed the FAA and asked them. (Did nobody else bother asking the FAA directly??!! We did.) Our question: Do Part 107 pilots also have to take the TRUST Test? Here's the official response from the FAA:

"The answer depends upon which rule you are operating under. If you are operating under 14 CFR Part 107 you are not required to complete the TRUST; Part 107 allows the remote pilot to fly for recreational purposes. If you are operating under § 44809 The Exception for Limited Recreational Ops, the TRUST is a statutory requirement." — FAA Spokesperson in an email directly to us (emphases ours)

2cofly intern Josh Hague gets his Part 107 only 1 month into his internship!
We posed with our intern Josh after he got his Part 107! If you have your Part 107, you don't need to take TRUST.

So there you have it — If you are already Part 107 certified, you're good, no need to get your TRUST as well. But if you are a recreational pilot, you must get it. Look again at that last sentence from the FAA: "If you are operating under § 44809 The Exception for Limited Recreational Ops, the TRUST is a statutory requirement." In other words, if you're flying for recreation, you must take the TRUST Test. And I for one am glad that's the case: Because I truly believe it will help SO many drone pilots acquire a basic foundation of knowledge and make better, safer decisions.

Quick recap of the BENEFITS of getting your TRUST Certification:

  • It’s USEFUL — full of information all drone pilots must know.

  • It’ll help you become a BETTER, SAFER pilot — more aware of what you need to do, and more aware of what’s going on around you.

  • It’s FREE — unlike the Part 107 that’ll set you back close to $200 for the knowledge exam itself, not including training materials.

  • It’s ONLINE — not in-person like the Part 107 knowledge exam. Take it at any time, at your convenience, with no need to schedule it in advance.

  • It’s FAST — around 1 hour.

  • You CAN’T FAIL. The short test at the end of the training will mark any answers you got wrong, and it will let you revise your answers unlimited times until you get them all right. It’s impossible to fail. By nature of this point alone, but even a monkey dancing on a keyboard would eventually pass this test.

  • It NEVER EXPIRES. That’s one benefit I didn’t mention before — Unlike your Part 107, which you have to renew every 2 years, this one lasts forever! The only exception is if you lose your proof of certification. So when you pass your TRUST test, have your cert emailed to you, save it to your computer, and put it in another backup place. You are ONLY required to re-take it if you did it once but lost your cert.

Go ahead and get your TRUST certification now! You’re welcome.

Love you, sweetie!!

- Mom


blog written by

Greg Barnes

Operations Manager

(671) 689-7939

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