Vic DeVore has a new airman certificate, and he couldn't be happier about it. The real estate photographer/digital marketing specialist last week became one of the first in the state to hold an FAA Remote Pilot Airman Certificate, with Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) rating.

In other words, he's a drone guy.

The Federal Aviation Administration has had drone rules for a while now. There's been registration rules, rules for flying in controlled airspace (and uncontrolled), rules for obtaining waivers, rules linking drone operations to holders of traditional airman certificates. Now the rules have been streamlined.

FAA Part 107 went into effect on Aug. 29, requiring operators who routinely fly drones for commercial purposes to pass a knowledge test and a background check, after which they will be issued the certificate.

A total of 2,570 people passed the test in the first week, according to DeVore. A total of 4,004 had passed the test by the end of the second week, according to FAA spokesman Arlene Duquette.

DeVore took his test on Sept. 2 and was able to access his certificate on Sept. 6, well in advance of the typical 10-day turnaround.

Speaking at the DeVore Design office in downtown Clermont, he attributed the speedy processing of his certificate to the fact that he already held a Student Pilot Certificate and an active FAA medical.

DeVore started out with Magic 107 in Orlando in digital marketing. He was also a traffic reporter there. The digital marketing led to product photography, which led to real estate photography, which led to aerial photography with drones.

"Aerial photography was a way to give another perspective, and that's the perspective that gets people's attention,” DeVore said. “That's what the drone allows us to do."

DeVore flies a DJI Phantom 4 drone. The camera, which comes with the drone, allows him to film 4K video and still shots with 12 megapixels. The gimbals that stabilize the camera will accommodate gusts of up to about 30 mph. With stronger winds, he wouldn't be flying anyway.

"I've never flown in conditions that were too windy," DeVore says. "I have 100 hours of flight time on drones and I've never had a crash. I fly conservatively."

The basic "rules of the road" for flying drones are to not exceed 400 feet above ground level (alternatively, do not exceed 400 feet from a structure), do not exceed 100 mph, do not go into controlled airspace without permission, do not fly recklessly, do respect privacy, and do yield to all manned flights.

There's one other rule. Register your drone. That rule applies to everyone.

According to FAA's Duquette, it applies "even if you're going to fly it around your backyard. When you register, it's an opportunity for us to educate the drone operator. A lot of people who get drones have no prior knowledge of aviation."

As for people behaving badly with drones, Duquette says "the FAA has proposed a civil penalty for someone who operates in an egregious manner. Our first step is education, but we can impose a penalty of $1,100 per violation for a recreational drone operator and $27,500 for a commercial operator."

The new FAA drone rules apply to commercial operators of drones that weigh over a half pound, but less than 55 pounds. Heavier drones fall under Part 333 rules. Drone operations that fall under neither of these sections are covered by the Special Rule for Model Aircraft, according to FAA spokesman Arlene Salac.