skip to main content

CCAC is one of 16 organizations selected to administer FAA recreational drone safety test

drone in flightPITTSBURGH—The Community College of Allegheny County’s West Hills Center has been selected by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to administer The Recreational Unmanned Aircraft Systems Safety Test (TRUST). The online test was developed to provide recreational drone flyers with aeronautical safety knowledge and an overview of the rules for operating drones in the National Airspace System. After passing the test, recreational drone flyers will be issued a completion certificate, which they are required to show if asked by FAA or law enforcement personnel. 

Congress required the development of the testing program in the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018. CCAC is the only organization in Pennsylvania and one of only 16 nationwide that has been approved to administer the free test. College officials worked closely with the FAA for several months to get the testing platform designed and approved. According to Dr. Lori Paluti, an FAA-certified unmanned aircraft systems pilot and an instructor at CCAC South Campus, the college received a very good review by the FAA. 

“It’s an honor to be selected as a test site considering how well the FAA screens the applicants,” said Paluti, who has taught Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) classes at CCAC in recent years. “We are lucky to have great people at the college who could understand the requirements and meet the standards. The goal is to help people be safer when operating a recreational drone in airspace, and the testing is mandatory, so we want to get it out there as much as possible.”             

Through the college’s “fantastic partnership” with Turbine, a Pittsburgh-based software and online learning company, a testing platform was created that “worked seamlessly” with the FAA file, according to Paluti. In the first week, 90 people went through the training, many of them from out of state. Although the college’s UAS classes were sidelined due to COVID-19, Paluti is hopeful that they will be offered again soon. 

For more information or to take The Recreational UAS Safety Test, go to