Chapter 2 FAA License Information

When operating a drone within the US, there are two different options for regulations: Part 107 Small UAS regulations or the Exception for Limited Recreational Use. By default, UAS operations fall under Part 107 Small UAS regulations, unless you can meet the requirements for the exception for Recreational Use. Part 107 requires that all pilots have a Remote Pilot Certificate with an sUAS rating, more commonly known as a ‘Drone License,’ whereas Recreational Use requires a TRUST certificate.

As of June 2021, all drone pilots must have either:

  1. Remote Pilot Certificate (Drone License)
  2. TRUST Certificate

Many researchers opt to get a Drone License for their research needs, but a Drone License does cost $150 and will take some time to study and prepare for. With the updates introduced in the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018 (P.L. 115-254), there are more exceptions available in which you may not need to obtain the license.

The Recreational UAS Safety Test (TRUST) certificate is a new requirement for all drone pilots without a Drone License. The TRUST certificate is free for everyone, can be done online and takes 20-30 minutes to complete the training. You can obtain your TRUST certificate by completing the drone training at any of websites listed on the FAA’s website here:

This page is for the Federal Aviation Administration licensing requirements for UAS use. UC Policy will still require a flight request and post flight reporting, regardless of FAA licensing requirements. More information on submitting flight requests can be found in Chapter 4.