Home / National News / Gyrocopter Man Released, Ordered to Stay Away from US Capitol


(WASHINGTON) — He won’t be flying his gyrocopter anytime soon, but Doug Hughes is a free man.

The 61-year-old Postal Service worker who landed his gyrocopter on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol appeared in federal court Thursday afternoon in his USPS uniform and was charged with one count of knowingly operating an aircraft not properly registered and one count of violating national air defense space. He faces up to four years in prison.

Magistrate Judge Deborah A. Robinson released Hughes on his own recognizance, on the conditions that he stay away from any type of aircraft, report to pretrial services in Tampa once a week and remain confined to his home in Ruskin, Florida.

He is also barred from returning to the District of Columbia except for court appearances and meetings with his attorney. And if he does return to D.C. he must stay away from the Capitol and the White House.

Hughes took off from Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, Wednesday afternoon and flew his gyrocopter 80 miles to Washington, D.C., flying just 150 feet above ground at roughly 45 miles per hour. His stunt was an effort to draw attention to the issue of campaign finance reform.

Homeland Security Director Jeh Johnson admitted Hughes literally flew in under the radar.

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