Patrick Skahill

Claim University is a giant warehouse operated by the insurance company Travelers, where insurance adjusters go to train. Inside are dinged-up cars, damaged store fronts, and big model houses.

And while you might not think of insurance adjusters as risk takers, Patrick Gee, who works on auto and property claims for Travelers, said they can be.

“Whenever you climb ladders or you get up on a roof, despite well-trained claim professionals with safety standards, there's always a risk of an accident occurring,” Gee said.

Patrick Skahill / WNPR

New federal rules that make it easier for companies to fly drones could mean big benefits for lots of businesses: news organizations, movie makers looking to get that perfect shot, and one group of workers you might not expect: insurance adjusters. 

The Federal Aviation Administration issued the first operational rules to govern the commercial use of drones on Tuesday.

Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said this was a "huge step for innovation."

The 600-plus pages of new regulations require drone operators to pass a written exam every two years, keep the unmanned aircraft within sight and avoid flying it over people and at night. The rules also require drones to stay at least 5 miles from airports.

DFSB DE / Creative Commons

The Connecticut Audubon Society announced it's banning the use of aerial unmanned "drones" at all of its 19 privately-owned wildlife sanctuaries, but the measure is highlighting questions about just how far the organization can go.

U.S. Department of Agriculture

A Connecticut firefighter has returned home from fighting wildfires in California and he said unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones, are becoming a growing concern. 


A Connecticut man who videotaped a homemade "drone" flying and firing a handgun in Clinton is now the subject of an FAA investigation.

The 14-second video shows a small hovering flying machine. It's black with four spinning propellers and there's a semiautomatic handgun strapped on top. As it hovers, it fires four shots into a wooded area before the video cuts out.

Peter Patau / Flickr Creative Commons

For over a decade now, when we've heard about military drones, we've likely been hearing about the Predator-- that peculiar, pilotless aircraft, patrolling the deserts and preying on its targets below. Indeed the iconic image of this modern day killer and tales of its near-autonomous deeds have been featured in the news, magazines and even Hollywood movies.

Peter Patau / Flickr Creative Commons

For over a decade now, when we've heard about military drones, we've likely been hearing about the Predator-- that peculiar, pilotless aircraft, patrolling the deserts and preying on its targets below. Indeed the iconic image of this modern day killer and tales of its near-autonomous deeds have been featured in the news, magazines and even Hollywood movies.

Flickr Creative Commons / Don McCullough

Once again, state lawmakers are considering if police should be allowed to conduct surveillance using remote controlled aerial vehicles, commonly known as "drones."

The law would require police to register drones and create publicly-available information about their use. It would also, in some cases, call for them to get a warrant before using a drone. 

Updated at 3:20 p.m. ET

The Secret Service has identified a device that was found overnight on the White House grounds as a "quad copter." The agency says the person who had been operating the device reported that it crashed after they lost control.

In a statement released Monday afternoon, the Secret Service said an individual called around 9:30 this morning to "self-report" the crashed copter. The agency adds that the person has been cooperative, and that the incident seems to stem from "recreational use of the device."

Don McCullough / Flickr Creative Commons

Experts on remotely piloted aircraft, also known as drones, convened at the Connecticut state capitol this week to discuss requiring police to obtain a warrant before using a drone for surveillance. The state has no laws governing drone use, which means if law enforcement uses the technology, they don't need to get anyone else's approval.

Hollywood is getting the green light to fly its own drones.

The Federal Aviation Administration is giving approval to six movie and TV production companies to use drones for filming. And the move could pave the way for the unmanned aircraft systems to be used in other commercial ventures.

The FAA will permit the six companies to use remote-controlled drones to shoot movies and video for TV shows and commercials, but there will be certain limitations.

An independent journalist says he's found a way around the so-called "ag-gag" laws by flying drones over large livestock operations to document animal welfare problems and pollution.

Will Potter, a Washington D.C.-based author and blogger, recently raised $75,000 on Kickstarter to buy the drones and other equipment to investigate animal agriculture in the U.S.

George Pankewytch / Creative Commons

Police in New York City arrested two people for operating a drone over the George Washington Bridge that came within 800 feet of a police helicopter. 

The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit has released a long-secret memo in which the Obama administration lays out its legal reasoning for launching a drone attack on an American citizen overseas.

The legal justification concerns the drone strike that killed Anwar al-Awlaki, a U.S. citizen who the United States claims was tied to plots against the U.S. and played a key role in al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula.

The U.S. resumed its drone strikes inside Pakistan, killing at least 13 people in two separate attacks on militant areas late Wednesday and early Thursday.

At least 10 people were killed in the CIA drone strike on Thursday when, according to The Associated Press, two drones "dropped three missiles on a militant compound and a vehicle in the town of Ghulam Khan." The news agency quoted two Pakistani intelligence officials.

The Federal Aviation Administration says it has issued the first permit in its history for an unmanned aircraft to fly over U.S. soil. Oil company BP will use a drone from the company AeroVironment to conduct surveys in Alaska.

The first drone flights under the recently issued waiver have already taken place, the FAA says.

From the agency's news release:

It is illegal in the U.S. to operate a drone for cash. That's the position of the Federal Aviation Administration — which is in charge of protecting air space. But at least one industry has decided that it doesn't care and it's going to put drones to work anyway: the film industry.

Drone Startups Hit Hollywood

Virtually any time a major event ripples across Washington, the Justice Department is positioned near the center of it.

From the disappearance of a Malaysian airliner that carried three Americans on board to the fate of voting rights for millions of people, the attorney general has an enormous portfolio. And the stress to match it.

But after an elevated heart rate sent him to the hospital last month, Eric Holder says he's on the mend.

Connecticut lawmakers are considering a bill that would allow the state's health insurance marketplace, Access Health CT, to negotiate prices with the insurance companies selling products through the exchange. Senate Majority Leader Martin Looney, says the legislation could lead to lower prices for Connecticut consumers.

Baton72/iStock / Thinkstock

State lawmakers heard public testimony Monday afternoon on a bill concerning drones. Next year, the FAA is expected to widely deregulate drone usage, which is leaving many states scrambling to control the technology.


There's something exciting about a critic who challenges your perceptions in a compelling way. I love the movie American Hustle but when I read Willa Paskin's take-down of it in Slate, she really got me thinking. 

The National Transportation Safety Board is calling for speed-limit signs in more places on Metro-North Railroad and cameras in the control cabs to monitor engineers and the tracks. In a letter dated Tuesday and sent to new Metro-North President Joseph Giulietti, the agency calls for permanent signs to warn engineers in advance of areas where speed restrictions are enforced, as an additional reminder to slow down.