Man who landed gyrocopter on Capitol lawn facing 9 year in jail

The man, 61-year-old Donald Hughes, who claimed to have organized the flight in protest of corruption in the US government.

The Capitl Building in Washington DC.

A man who landed a gyrocopter on the West Lawn of Washington DC’s Capitol Building in April could be facing up to nine-and-a-half years in prison.

The man, 61-year-old Donald Hughes, who claimed to have organized the flight in protest of corruption in the US government, has been indicted of six charges, including operating as an airman without an airman's certificate, violating aircraft registration requirements, and violating national defense airspace.

Hughes lives in Florida and has worked as a postal carrier, before he took off from Gettysburg, Pennsylvania on April 15 in a gyrocopter carrying the logo of the US Postal Service.

He said he made the flight intending to question the influence of big money in US politics but the stunt sparked off something entirely different.

A Congressional hearing took place late last month to discuss the safety of the city's airspace. Speaking at the hearing, Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) said Hughes was "lucky to be alive" and "should have been blown out of the air."

Although Hughes’ flight was a manned mission, the rise of affordable drones means the authorities have to increasingly deal with potential threats from the air.

Just this January a drone crash-landed on the White House lawn, and in Japan, a drone carrying a radiation symbol landed on the roof of a building used by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe as an office.


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