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As mini-copter slips through DC defenses, many ask: How?

A mini helicopter or gyrocopter that landed on the US Capitol South Lawn area is viewed April 15, 2015, in Washington, DCBy brazenly flying a mini-helicopter through Washington’s no-fly zone and landing it on the US Capitol lawn, a 61-year-old pilot stunned the security world and prompted the question: Why wasn’t he detected? The city essentially became fortress Washington after the 9/11 attacks of 2001, when the military added Humvee-mounted Avenger missile launchers, intensified aircraft detection systems and integrated air security operations. A huge hovering radar blimp casts a protective eye over the National Capital Region, and monthly night-time dummy flights test the city’s air defense system. Yet none of these defenses kicked in to prevent pilot Douglas Hughes from flying his gyrocopter through layers of restricted air space Wednesday, past the White House and down the National Mall, apparently unnoticed except by stunned tourists, to the domed building where Congress was in session.

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