TRUST test

Why drone pilots should take the TRUST test

Happy National Drone Safety Awareness Week! If you’re not celebrating it by taking the TRUST test (or admiring your proof that you already passed it), then what are you doing?!?!

We’re four days into the Federal Aviation Administration’s own holiday week dedicated to drones, which is the third annual National Drone Safety Awareness Week 2021. Each day of their made-up holiday week has a theme, and Monday’s theme was in fact “safe flyers take the recreational unmanned aircraft safety test (TRUST).”

If the kickoff day to the FAA’s unofficial holiday week alone isn’t enough to encourage you to take the TRUST test, then read on.

National Drone Safety Awareness Week 2021

What is the TRUST test?

Formally referred to as the Recreational Unmanned Aircraft Systems Safety Test (and reduced to an acronym of sorts as TRUST), this is a relatively-easy test and accompanying online course created by the FAA that all hobby pilots need to take it.

Prior to its launch in June 2021, only commercial drone pilots needed to hold a license in order to operate drones, which they could receive by passing the Part 107 test. These days, all pilots are legally required by the FAA to pass the test.

These days, under Section 44809, all recreational drone pilots must take the TRUST. The test may be taken online through one of the FAA-approved partner organizations. Before you can take the test, you must also complete an online course that takes about 30 minutes to an hour to get through. Then you’ll be directed to a at the end of the hour training, and most providers allow for unlimited attempts to pass.

Why should you take the TRUST test?

Look, if you’re just flying drones in a park or your backyard, you could theoretically get away with never taking it. It’s unlikely anyone would check your certification (are police up-to-date with every new FAA law?) unless you actually got into trouble and hurt someone or you were flying in restricted airspace.

But that’s the wrong attitude! You should definitely take the TRUST test. (And by the way, it’s legally required to take the TRUST test, so we do encourage you to stick to the laws).

It’s free

Free stuff is always good, and a free class is great! Luckily, the TRUST test can be taken online and is offered at no cost through the above, approved test administrators.

“The FAA recognizes that recreational drone flying is a popular hobby and wants to make sure that there are no barriers that would prevent anyone from taking the test,” according to a statement from the FAA.

By the way, if you do find a websites out there trying to charge for this, then run away, as that site is a scam!

It’s fast

The course and test takes 30 minutes to an hour to complete, but if you’re already an experienced drone pilot, it might take even less time than 30 minutes. If you have time to read this post, you have time to take the test! 30 minutes to add credibility and learn even just one new thing is worth it. Trust me, you’ve probably spent more time on Instagram and Facebook this week.

It helps legitimize drone piloting as a serious craft (even if it’s just a hobby for you)

Anyone can fly a drone. Not anyone can fly a drone and hold TRUST certification — unless they put in the work that you did by taking the course and passing the accompanying test.

And if you learn just one new thing from the TRUST course, it’s all worth it. Knowledge is power, and the more knowledge drone pilots collectively have, the more powerful the industry will be in getting favorable laws for the hobby, getting public support and ultimately growing.

If everyone knew that the person flying a drone at the park had a license, they would likely feel better, versus wondering if the drone pilot is a complete novice and that drone might crash on their nearby soccer game.

The TRUST is there to reduce bad outcomes like irresponsible piloting and potential crashes. After all, those things lead to legislation that could limit or hurt the drone industry.

“We need pilots of all aircraft, including those who operate recreational drones, to have the training and knowledge needed to operate safely in the nation’s airspace,” said FAA Administrator Steve Dickson.

So what are you waiting for? Find a provider and take TRUST yourself!

Here’s the complete list of the FAA’s TRUST-approved organizations:

  • The Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA)
  • The Boy Scouts of America
  • Chippewa Valley Technical College
  • Community College of Allegheny County – West Hills Center
  • CrossFlight Sky Solutions LLC
  • Drone Launch Academy LLC
  • Drone U
  • Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU)
  • HSU Educational Foundation
  • Lake Area Technical College
  • Pilot Institute
  • Proctorio Incorporated
  • Tactical Aviation
  • UAV Coach
  • University of Arizona Global Campus
  • Volatus Aerospace Corp

The test is made up of 23 multiple choice questions, and recreational flyers will only need to pass TRUST once and save their certificate of completion. All recreational flyers — no matter your age — must take and pass this test.

I personally love the folks over at UAV Coach, as they’ve long been leaders in also offering Part 107 test training. Give it a whirl!

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