Ruskin gyrocopter pilot speaks out after guilty plea

- The Ruskin gyrocopter pilot who landed on the Capitol lawn on April 15th will plead guilty to flying without a license, ending months of negotiations with prosecutors who initially threatened up to ten years in prison.

Doug Hughes will serve up to three years.

Yet, he has insisted all along he didn't deserve jail time for violating restricted airspace or flying without a license, claiming his good intentions didn't hurt anyone.

Now he'll exchange his ankle monitor for a jail suit.

"I am absolutely content that the decision I made is the best one for actually winning the war," he said.

Hughes flew 60 miles from Gettysburg to Washington on what amounts to a flying bicycle, a gyrocopter, to protest money in politics.

It was a dangerous stunt.

He frightened Capitol tourists, exposed a security flaw,  became something of a cult figure, as seen in this YouTube fan video, and he says, brought campaign finance reform to the forefront.

He cites Donald Trump's recent assertion that politicians are for sale.

"Everybody is talking about this now," he said. "I have received clippings in the mail, from people I don't know. They are talking about money in politics where they don't mention my name."

Prosecutors have asked for ten months, but a judge could give three years.

The married father of a teenaged daughter says she agrees with what he did.

"She can not understand why anyone would think about putting me into jail," he said. "She sees me as a hero."

Once he's out, he will take up his cause with equal passion, but different tactics.

"How many thousands of people have gone to Iraq or Afghanistan and left behind families who didn't know if they were going to see daddy come back? I am not unique."

That's a comparison that prosecutors may not see.

Hughes' court date is November 20th.

His gyrocopter is also going to be taken away forever.

Up Next:


Up Next

  • Ruskin gyrocopter pilot speaks out after guilty plea
  • Busy MacDill AFB about to get busier
  • Manatee County deputy rescues couple from burning car
  • Arrest made after elderly woman robbed in driveway
  • Gibsonton man allegedly tweeted child porn to local TV anchor
  • Building codes have changed in 25 years since Hurricane Andrew
  • Tampa police unveil pink patrol cars for breast cancer awareness
  • Lakeland K9 unit members disciplined for speeding
  • Girl dies after being hit by truck in Riverview neighborhood
  • North Port dog bit by rattlesnake, police say