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May 21, 2015

US Capitol gyrocopter pilot faces 9 years in prison

Florida postal carrier accused of violating national defence airspace.


Douglas Hughes, 61, has been indicted with six charges and could be arrested for up to nine years and half for flying a gyrocopter into the US Capitol airspace.

The charges accuse Hughes of operating as an airman without an airman’s certificate, violating aircraft registration requirements, and violating national defence airspace.

The postal carrier from Ruskin, Florida, landed in front of the US Capitol on April 15 after taking off from Pennsylvania.

He said the idea was a call for the need for campaign finance reform. Hughes was arrested on site.

The US Justice Department said in a statement: "An investigation determined that he does not have a pilot’s certificate or registration for the aircraft.

"The gyrocopter was privately owned by Hughes, but had the logo and emblem of the United States Postal Service without authorisation."

Hughes has been banned from piloting any aircraft, had to give his passport to the authorities and was forbidden to enter the District of Columbia unless attending court sessions.

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