Florida Man Who Flew Into U.S. Capitol Lawn Faces Nine-and-a-half Years In Prison

Florida Man Who Flew Into U.S. Capitol Lawn Faces Nine-and-a-half Years In Prison
wikileaks truck capitol hill Wikileaks Mobile Information Collection Unit / Flickr CC BY 2.0

61-year-old Douglas Hughes, a mail carrier from Ruskin, Florida who flew a gyrocopter into the U.S. Capitol lawn on April 15 is facing nine-and-a-half years in prison.


Hughes was indicted by a federal grand jury on Wednesday with six charges including violation of aircraft registration requirements, flying aircraft without a license of an airman and violating national defence airspace, according to the U.S. Justice Department.

On April 15 Hughes flew from Gettysburg, Pennsylvania in an unauthorized gyrocopter bearing the logo of the U.S. Postal Service and landed on the west lawn of the Capitol with intention to question the influence of big money in U.S. politics. He wanted to draw the attention of the public to campaign for finance reform. He was being watched by police and tourists while flying.

“An investigation determined that he does not have a pilot’s certificate or registration for the aircraft,” the Justice Department said. “The gyrocopter was privately owned by Hughes, but had the logo and emblem of the United States Postal Service without authorization.”

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His gyrocopter was seized by law enforcements. After the incident, Hughes was arrested but was later released after his initial court appearance on April 16.

Douglas Hughes was barred from flying any aircraft. He is also banned from returning to the District of Columbia, excluding court appearances and meeting his attorney. He was even ordered to surrender his passport.

Hughes is likely to be charged in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on Thursday. If found guilty, Hughes will be sentenced to nine-and-a-half years in prison.