Gyrocopter pilot charged with violating national airspace

Written by The Associated Press | Apr 17, 2015 2:21 AM



Photo by AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta

(Washington) -- The postal carrier who flew a gyrocopter from Gettysburg onto the lawn of the U.S. Capitol is facing two criminal charges.

But he's being released from federal custody to return to Florida.  

Doug Hughes made his initial appearance in U.S. District Court in Washington on Thursday. That's one day after he steered his tiny aircraft onto the Capitol's West Lawn after flying through restricted airspace around the National Mall.

He was charged with operating an unregistered aircraft and violating national airspace. 

Hughes said it was a political protest. 

He was released on his own recognizance afterward and instructed to check in weekly with authorities in Tampa starting next week. I

n a soft voice, Hughes appeared to ask the judge a clarifying question about that obligation but otherwise he did not say anything significant. 

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