After Doug Hughes flew what he called a “gyroplane” into the Washington, D.C., Flight Restricted Zone and landed on the Capitol lawn April 15, AOPA quickly stated that the man’s actions were “unacceptable” and that they “should in no way be associated with the law-abiding professional and recreational pilots who every day follow the rules and regulations of the National Airspace System.”
“The violation of the Washington D.C. airspace by a single individual on Wednesday was an isolated incident, one that AOPA in no way condones,” the association stated. “The willful violation of this airspace was carried out by an individual operating a self-described ‘flying bicycle.’ His actions appear to be unsettled, and it is unacceptable that he chose to deliver his political statement by flagrantly violating the National Capital airspace.”
Thousands of pilots fly safely and comply with the security procedures in place within the Washington, D.C., Special Flight Rules Area and Flight Restricted Zone. AOPA regularly reaches out to educate pilots about operations in sensitive airspace like the Washington, D.C., area, temporary flight restrictions, and other special-use airspace. Pilots successfully complete training on security and special-use airspace and comply with the regulations and procedures put in place.