Postal Updates

Gyrocopter pilot who landed at U.S. Capitol to be sentenced

Apr 28, 2021, 4 AM
Douglas Hughes, a United States Postal Service employee, faces sentencing April 13, 2016, for flying a gyrocopter onto the grounds of the U.S. Capitol in Washington April 15. This stamplike label surfaced not long after Hughes’ headline-grabbing stunt.

By Bill McAllister, Washington Correspondent

The Florida postal worker who piloted a gyrocopter to the lawn of the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C., faces sentencing April 13, 2016, after pleading guilty to a felony Nov. 20.

Douglas Hughes, 62, of Ruskin, Fla., admitted he operated his tiny aircraft without an airman’s certificate. That was the part of a May indictment he faced for flying his gyrocopter from Gettysburg, Pa., to Washington’s no-fly zone on April 15.

He faces up to three years in prison. But The Washington Post reported Nov. 20 that both prosecutors and Hughes’ lawyers agreed that no sentencing guideline applies, which allows U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly to fix his punishment as she sees fit.

The Post also said Hughes “agreed to forfeit his ultralight craft, which was modified with bins to hold letters he had planned to send to members of Congress, as well as a 10-gallon gas tank.”

Hughes said he staged the flight to protest Congress’ failure to enact limits on political spending.