The 61-year-old Florida mailman who landed a gyrocopter on the lawn of the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday afternoon has been charged and released from jail on his own recognizance.
Doug Hughes appeared in court wearing a U.S. Postal Service coat on Thursday, one day after his stunt sparked a security emergency in Washington.
He was charged with violating national defense air space and operating an unregistered aircraft and placed on house arrest, Fox News reports.
“As I have informed the authorities, I have no violent inclinations or intent,” he wrote. “An ultralight aircraft poses no major physical threat – it may present a political threat to graft. I hope so. There’s no need to worry – I’m just delivering the mail.”
The postal worker, who claimed he was delivering protest letters to Congress when he landed his mini helicopter on the West Lawn of the Capitol, could go to prison for up to four years.
Hughes was also ordered to stay away from the White House, to not fly aircraft of any kind and to wear a GPS ankle bracelet until his next court appearance on May 8.
The mailman believed he was performing a patriotic act by delivering 535 letters – one for each member of Congress – protesting government corruption.
“I have thought about walking away from this whole thing because it’s crazy,” he told the Tampa Bay Times before taking flight. “But I have also thought about being 80 years old and watching the collapse of this country and thinking that I had an idea once that might have arrested the fall and I didn’t do it.”