Gyrocopter pilot feared being shot down
© Tampa Bay Times

The pilot who flew a gyrocopter into restricted airspace and landed on the west lawn of the U.S. Capitol is Doug Hughes, a postal worker from Florida who wants to make a statement about campaign finance reform.

Hughes, 61, had warned on Wednesday that he would fly his small gyrocopter to the Capitol to deliver letters in person to lawmakers to demand that they take up campaign finance reform. 

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On the webpage thedemocracyclub.org, he wrote: “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.”

He then suggested that those who support him call the White House.

The Tampa Bay Times in a story published on Wednesday reported that the Secret Service had visited Hughes after it had learned of his plans.

Officials on Capitol Hill also said police were expecting him, but had thought he would land on the east side of the Capitol.

Hughes told the Times that he had been questioned for about 45 minutes by the Secret Service. He had made no secret of his effort.

“I'm demanding reform and declaring a voter's rebellion in a manner consistent with Jefferson's description of rights in the Declaration of Independence,” he wrote in his letters, according to the Times. “As a member of Congress, you have three options. 1. You may pretend corruption does not exist. 2. You may pretend to oppose corruption while you sabotage reform. 3. You may actively participate in real reform.”