Douglas Mark Hughes Expected To Be Intercepted Before Reaching Capitol

Douglas Mark Hughes
The Florida man who piloted a small gyrocopter past Washington, DC, landmarks last week said he fully expected to be intercepted before landing on the west lawn of the US Capitol.

Douglas Mark Hughes, 61, created a security scare when he violated national airspace and has prompted a full-scale security review in Washington.

Hughes, a US Postal Service mail carrier, described his flight upon arriving home in Ruskin, Florida, early on Sunday.

Doug Hughes, 61, spoke from his home in Ruskin, Florida, afre he arrived for house arrest before his court date

He steered his one-person gyrocopter onto the West Lawn of the US Capitol on Wednesday, April 15, 2015

He steered his one-person gyrocopter onto the West Lawn of the US Capitol on Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Doug Hughes putting address labels on half of the 535 letters to Congress he tried delivering earlier this month

Doug Hughes putting address labels on half of the 535 letters to Congress he tried delivering earlier this month

Hughes told reporters outside his home: 'I had expected to be intercepted on the way.'

He recalled it being colder than he had expected flying from Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, to DC, where the sight of the Washington Monument helped guide him to the Capitol grounds.

Some of the people below waved to Hughes, who intended the flight as a protest to highlight the need for campaign-finance reform, as he flew over the National Mall. 

He said: 'People were not frightened at all.

'That part of it was surreal.'

Hughes hoped to raise awareness about the influence of big money in politics by deliberately breaking the law to deliver 535 letters, one for each member of Congress. 
I had expected to be intercepted on the way 
 Douglas Hughes

Instead, the overwhelming focus of news coverage has been about the gaps he exposed in national security.

He told The Associated Press: 'We've got bigger problems in this country than worrying about whether the security around DC is ironclad.

'We need to be worried about the piles of money that are going into Congress.

'The message was two pages long to Congress that they are going to have to face the issue, OK, of campaign-finance reform and honesty and government so that they work for the people. 

Hughes flew through restricted airspace carrying 535 letters and landed on the west lawn of the Capitol

Hughes flew through restricted airspace carrying 535 letters and landed on the west lawn of the Capitol

His Russian-born wife, Alena Hughes, said she was 'proud' that her husband acted out of patriotism for the US

His Russian-born wife, Alena Hughes, said she was 'proud' that her husband acted out of patriotism for the US

Hughes spent a night in jail after Capitol Police arrested him. 

The ultralight aircraft and its cargo - a US Postal Service bin carrying the letters - were seized. 

His Russian-born wife, Alena, told the AP that her husband acted out of patriotism for the United States.

She said: 'I am very proud of my husband. He is a countryman.'

Hughes faces up to four years in prison on charges of unlawfully operating an unregistered aircraft and violating national defense airspace. He will remain home until he is back in Washington for a preliminary hearing in May

Hughes faces up to four years in prison on charges of unlawfully operating an unregistered aircraft and violating national defense airspace. He will remain home until he is back in Washington for a preliminary hearing in May

Asked if he too thinks he's a patriot or simply crazy, Hughes said 'everyone gets to make up their own mind about me, that's what I'd say.'

A reporter asked: 'But do you consider yourself a patriot?'

'No, I'm a mailman,' he said.

Hughes faces up to four years in prison on charges of unlawfully operating an unregistered aircraft and violating national defense airspace.

He was allowed to return to Florida, but ordered to remain at home in detention until he is due back in Washington for a preliminary hearing on May 8. 

Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are those of the writers and do not reflect those of Capitalbay. Capitalbay accepts no responsibility legal or otherwise for their accuracy of content. Please report any inappropriate content to us, and we will evaluate it as a matter of priority.
What's next
By Mathias Dillion 04/20/2015 02:45:00
View All

MOST WATCHED NEWS VIDEOS