WASHINGTON — The head of the Federal Aviation Administration says a small gyrocopter that flew through miles of the nation’s most restricted airspace before landing at the U.S. Capitol was “indistinguishable” from other non-aircraft such as a flock of birds, a kite or a balloon.
FAA Administrator Michael Huerta tells a House committee that the slow-moving gyrocopter appeared as an “irregular symbol” on radar monitored by air traffic controllers. Huerta and other officials says the small, unidentified object didn’t pose an apparent threat before landing on the Capitol’s West Lawn April 15.
Sixty-one-year-old pilot Doug Hughes of Florida was arrested upon landing and charged with violating restricted airspace and operating an unregistered aircraft.
Lawmakers are investigating the response of security officials to the gyrocopter’s flight.
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