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Gyro-Helicopter Lands at U.S. Capitol Prompting Brief Lockdown

Image: Gyro-Helicopter Lands at U.S. Capitol Prompting Brief Lockdown
A bomb disposal robot, left, is seen beside a gyrocopter on the West Front of the US Capitol, on Capitol Hill in Washington DC, USA. (Michael Reynolds/EPA/Landov)

Wednesday, 15 Apr 2015 04:06 PM

U.S. Capitol Police are investigating the landing of a gyro-helicopter with a single occupant on the Capitol lawn that prompted a brief lockdown of the building.

Capitol Police spokeswoman Lieutenant Kimberly Schneider said one person was detained and that streets were temporarily closed in the immediate area Wednesday. A lockdown of the Capitol building in Washington has been been lifted.

Authorities declined to say how the pilot was able to navigate the craft and land so close to the Capitol -- about 100 yards in front of the building -- or whether they were aware of his intentions beforehand. They also didn’t give the man’s identity.

Most flights lower than 18,000 feet are prohibited from entering a circle about 15 miles from the Capitol, according to the Federal Aviation Administration. Violators are subject to criminal penalties, the FAA said in a 2007 notice.

Pilots wishing to come within 30 miles of Washington must also give notification to air-traffic controllers and have equipment that allows radars to track them.

Because planes taking off and landing at Reagan National Airport just outside the city in Virginia must enter this restricted zone, they are required to follow special flight rules, according to the FAA.

Flights taking off toward the city must take a special flight path turning them away from the White House and other sensitive government offices almost immediately after getting airborne, for example.

The landing comes just days after a 22-year-old man from Illinois died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound on the Capitol grounds Saturday. The man had a sign taped to his hand, which the Washington Post said read: “Tax the 1 percent.”

Both events occurred amid the season’s heavy tourist and other traffic around the Capitol grounds, with the blooming of cherry blossoms at its peak.


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U.S. Capitol Police are investigating the landing of a gyro-helicopter with a single occupant on the Capitol lawn that prompted a brief lockdown of the building.Capitol Police spokeswoman Lieutenant Kimberly Schneider said one person was detained and that streets were...
helicopter, lands, capitol, building
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2015-06-15
Wednesday, 15 Apr 2015 04:06 PM
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