WASHINGTON (WJZ) — There are more questions than answers after a Florida postal worker manages to land his gyrocopter on the lawn of the U.S. Capitol without being detected.
Amy Yensi takes a closer look at 61-year-old Doug Hughes and his mission.
There are lots of questions about what drove him to do this, and what consequences he will have to face.
Doug Hughes had little to say leaving federal court Thursday. The Florida postal worker made good on his plan to land a small helicopter on the lawn of the U.S. Capitol.
Hughes announced the so-called freedom flight in a video he made for The Tampa Bay Times.
“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 Mall,” he said.
His neighbors in Ruskin, Florida are still surprised by Wednesday’s outlandish stunt.
“It’s weird thinking somebody like that two doors down,” said Ian Hopkins, neighbor.
“We’re so surprised about it because he’s a good man, a good neighbor,” another neighbor said.
The Secret Service interviewed Hughes about his plans. The 61-year-old mailman was delivering letters to Congress, urging them to take up campaign finance reform.
His coworker tried to warn him against the bold plan.
“I told him that it was a very bad idea, extremely dangerous,” said Michael Shanahan, Hughes’ friend.
Hughes started planning more than two years ago when his son committed suicide, prompting him to take a strong stance on political issues.
“No sane person would do what I’m doing,” Hughes said.
Before takeoff, Hughes took to his website, writing: “I have no violent inclinations or intent. Let’s keep the discussion focused on reform – not me – I’m just delivering the mail.”
Hughes has been released from federal custody to return to Florida.
The Secret Service says it conducted a thorough investigation before Hughes’ flight, but some members of Congress are calling for hearings.