A man by the name of Doug Hughes, 61, landed his small aircraft on the U.S. Capitol’s lawn, unauthorized. Authorities were ready to shoot Hughes down if he had come any closer.
On the morning of April 15, 2015, Doug Hughes landed a small, one-person helicopter on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol without authority. And on the spot, police moved in to take Doug into custody.
BREAKING: Small helicopter lands on US Capitol lawn. Pilot arrested. pic.twitter.com/acpuQKXHF2
— Breaking News (@NewsOnTheMin) April 15, 2015
— USA TODAY (@USATODAY) April 15, 2015
As could be seen from the USA Today’s live stream video, U.S. Capitol police were on the lawn securing the man’s aircraft onto a truck. The aircraft’s size was enough for a one-man operation.
Interestingly, the motive for landing at the U.S. Capitol was pre-determined. In an interview with the Tampa Bay Times, Hughes said that he wanted to protest against governmental corruption. Doug announced, in 2014, that he was planning to fly to the U.S. Capitol to personally deliver letters to Congress.
“I have gotten a plane, a gyroplane. And I’m going to fly it. I’m going to violate the no-fly zone, non-violently. I intend for nobody to get hurt. And I’m going to land on the Capitol lawn, in front of the Capitol Building. I’m gonna have 535 letters strapped to the landing gear and in boxes. And those letters are going to be addressed to every member of Congress.”
Secret service received a tip and investigated Hughes as his home as well as his workplace. Also, they saw the gyrocopter during their questionings. In the end, they backed off and determined that Doug wasn’t a threat to national security.
— Flightradar24 (@flightradar24) April 15, 2015
During Doug’s interview, he stated that he isn’t a terrorist.
“I have carefully planned it that nobody gets hurt, including me… especially me. I’m not suicidal. And I’m not going to commit suicide, and I’m not going to fly into any monuments. Terrorists don’t announce their flights before they take off. Okay? Terrorists don’t broadcast their flight paths. Terrorists don’t invite an escort to go along with them.”
However, once Hughes landed, appropriate emergency vehicles were dispatched to the scene, including a bomb-disposal unit.
According to the Clarion-Ledger, the news medium reported from the House Homeland Security chairman.
“House Homeland Security panel Chairman Michael McCaul, R-Texas, said the pilot landed on his own, but that had he made it much closer to the Capitol authorities were prepared to shoot him down.”
The investigation is still underway though the motive was clear in his interview. Yet, as is protocol, authorities have to ensure there’s no other plans for his visit.
US Capitol police detain man who flew over and landed gyrocopter on Capitol grounds http://t.co/85lKldFGqF pic.twitter.com/FjpArm2ErE
— NBC Los Angeles (@NBCLA) April 15, 2015
What do you think of Doug Hughes’ attempt to bring awareness to Congress? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.
[Photo Credits: YouTube]