Gyrocopter Incident should not stir instant Reactions

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Things that happen in Washington are magnified; add an aircraft landing on the Capital grounds and the magnifying lens becomes an electron microscope. The events on Tax Day in our Nation’s Capital will attract attention well beyond its real significance.

Simply put a US Postal Service employee designed/decorated a gyrocopter with the mail’s logo. Before his flight from Gettysburg to the District of Columbia he posted a video outlining his flight plan of civil disobedience. His goal was to deliver a message to the Congress about corruption. He flew at a level which to avoid detection.

The FAA issued a statement:

“The FAA is working with its aviation security partners in the DC area to investigate an incident involving an aircraft that landed on the west lawn of the Capitol this afternoon. The pilot was not in contact with FAA air traffic controllers and the FAA did not authorize him to enter restricted airspace. Airspace security rules that cover the Capitol and the District of Columbia prohibit private aircraft flights without prior coordination and permission. Violators may face civil and criminal penalties.”

To support its position the FAA cited 14 CFR §§ 91.331- 91. Failure to comply with a number of the requirements of those regulations may constitute serious crimes.

Major incidents have had impact beyond their real significance. Thoughtful, careful, detailed analysis of the facts of this postman’s bizarre escapade should be completed and considered BEFORE any precipitous actions are taken. Such an examination may identify risks which should be addressed at some time in the future. Hopefully no abrupt recommendations will be adopted. Patience is a good process for some policy issues.

ARTICLE: Gyrocopter lands on Capitol lawn; pilot is arrested

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FAA Statement

ARTICLE: FAA hints at charges for gyrocopter pilot

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