It was a plan two years in the making and 61-year-old Doug Hughes saw it through from start to finish. He’s a Postal Service worker out of Florida, but he made his impact in DC today by flying his gyrocopter in defiance of The National Mall’s no-fly zone, landing it on the lawn of the Capitol. It would seem he had some mail to deliver. From ABC News:
Hughes flew a gyrocopter, which he described in an interview with the Tampa Bay Times as a “flying bicycle,” onto the Capitol lawn on Wednesday afternoon. Law enforcement sources said he wanted to draw attention to the issue of campaign finance reform.
“I have got a plane, a gyro-plane, and I’m going to fly it. I’m going to violate the no-fly zone, non-violently,” Hughes said in a video posted on the Tampa Bay Times website today. “I’m going to land on the Capitol Mall.”
Now I would like think that he rolled off the copter as it landed, did a twirl, and introduced himself like he just flew Chitty Chitty Bang Bang into reality. What happened was a quick meeting with the cops, the appearance of some “long guns,” and the fear that Hughes was carrying a bomb.
Luckily the device in his hands just controlled his gyrocopter and Hughes was arrested. It turns out the Secret Service had known about him for two years, although they weren’t alerted today. They deemed him “not dangerous” at the time and it would seem that his plans continued to move forward:
Ben Montgomery, the Times reporter who first reported Hughes’ bizarre plot, says the mailman-turned pilot planned to fly through restricted airspace to deliver 535 letters, one to each member of Congress, protesting campaign finance laws.
“He pulled it off, he did exactly what he said he was going to do,” Montgomery told ABC News. “Honestly, I didn’t think he’d make it anywhere close to here.
“This is a guy who thought for two and a half years about doing an act of civil disobedience — I’m glad he wasn’t hurt,” the reporter said. “He was hoping not to die, but he knew he’d get arrested.” (via)
Add this to your memories as a wild way to protest, it’ll be helpful once they make a movie about it in a year or two. Also remember it as a missed opportunity for someone to shout Road Warrior quotes at the police.