Gyrocopter pilot nearly collided with airplane

Written by The Associated Press | Mar 6, 2016 9:15 AM


Photo by AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta

(Washington, D.C.) -- Prosecutors say a Florida man who landed a gyrocopter outside the U.S. Capitol as political protest last spring was seconds away from potentially colliding with a Delta flight that had taken off from Reagan National Airport.

In a court filing Friday, prosecutors said Douglas Hughes, who started his flight from Gettysburg, flew his one-person aircraft almost directly into the oncoming flight path of the 150-person turbojet last April, risking the death of ``countless people.''

Hughes, who agreed to a plea deal in November, is set to be sentenced April 13. Prosecutors are asking for 10 months in prison.

Mark Goldstone, an attorney for Hughes, said they will look into whether the government's claim about the flight is correct and questioned how prosecutors got the new information.

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