WASHINGTON – The North American Aerospace Defense Command is planning a training exercise over the Washington area intended to test its ability to spot gyrocopters and ultralight aircraft.
Sunday's exercise comes about four months after a Florida man piloted a gyrocopter through restricted airspace to land on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol. Douglas Hughes has said his flight was intended to call attention to the influence of big money in politics. He now faces a range of charges.
NORAD says its exercise is based on that incident but will involve four aircraft. NORAD says it won't be attempting to intercept the aircraft Sunday but that the exercise will test its ability to identify and track low altitude, slow speed aircraft. The flights are scheduled during two separate intervals between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m.