Gyrocopter Pilot Says He Told Obama He Was Coming

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April 16, 2015 11:13 a.m.

Doug Hughes, the Florida mailman who flew his gyrocopter onto the U.S. Capitol grounds on Wednesday, wrote on his website that he warned President Obama about his plan to personally deliver mail to Congress so that the Secret Service could be made aware that he was not a threat.

“My flight is not a secret. Before I took off, I sent an Email* to info@barackobama.com. The letter is intended to persuade the guardians of the Capitol that I am not a threat and that shooting me down will be a bigger headache than letting me deliver these letters to Congress,” Hughes wrote on his website dedicated to his plan, DemocracyClub.org.

Hughes did not send an email to the White House, but sent his message to BarackObama.com, which is now maintained by Organizing for Action, the group formed out of Obama’s presidential campaign.

On his website, Hughes also asked people to call the White House about his mail delivery and “let them know you demand an honest government that works for the people – and you oppose shooting me down.”

He also wrote that he had “taken every precaution to prevent any injury to anyone, including me.”

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“There is no way I can prevent over-reaction by the authorities, but I have given them as much information and advance warning as my fuel supply allows,” he wrote.

In an interview with the Tampa Bay Times published on Wednesday, Hughes seemed fairly confident that he would not get shot down on his way toward the Capitol, though he was worried about how risky his attempt would be.

“I don’t believe that the authorities are going to shoot down a 61-year-old mailman in a flying bicycle,” Hughes said. “I don’t have any defense, okay, but I don’t believe that anybody wants to personally take responsibility for the fallout.”

Hughes told the Times that when he decided to fly to the U.S. Capitol, he made sure to develop the least-threatening plan possible. He chose to fly a gyrocopter since it would be clear to people on the ground who was flying the vehicle.

“This is as transparent a vehicle that I could come up with,” he said. “You can literally see through it.”

Hughes set out on his mission to deliver letters to each member of Congress urging them to act on campaign finance reform.

He was concerned about the impact of the Supreme Court’s decision in the Citizens United case, which led to an increase in campaign spending.

“The demonstration is about restoring democracy. Corruption in Washington DC has robbed the US citizens of the representative government that is our birthright,” Hughes wrote on his website. “Polls show that the public is aware of the problem and VERY concerned, but they are largely uninformed that there is a solution and there are organizations prepared to make reform a reality.”

Hughes was arrested upon landing at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, and may face charges for flying in restricted air space. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI), the chair of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, said he would investigate how Hughes was able to fly through restricted air space.

*content from Hughes’ website is quoted verbatim.

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