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April 16, 2015


OT: I have Yet Another Hugo Post waiting to go up, but I don't want to step on this one. How long should I wait, do you-all think?

Back in the mid 70's a angry army pilot who was kicked out of helicopter school because he failed night flying stold a helicopter from a base near DC and landed on the White House lawn. Since this drew no attention, he took off again, chased DC Police cars, tearing off their lights with his landing skids, and when he landed for a second time on the White House lawn, there were lots of folks waiting for him. As the newspaper said, he was taken away laughing histerically.

All of which is a long winded way of saying is that I think this was handled just fine.


Whenever is fine. Looks like I won't be able to be around to discuss anything on this thread after about the next hour anyway.

*It's also an interesting contrast between this guy, who flies through some of the most restricted air space in the world and crash lands on the heavily secured Capitol grounds, and is still around to talk about it, and some poor guy pulled over for a broken taillight who ends up dead with several bullets in his back.

Or interesting to contrast with someone making a U-turn at a checkpoint...


As to what will happen, I hope not much. We can't scramble F15s every time this happens, and detecting ultralight craft flying low is really hard. Maybe if you had a satellite or high-loiter drone circling the airspace...but there are a lot of problems with that.

No security system is perfect. We need to accept that and move on. We shouldn't go (further) down the path of meaningless and potentially dangerous security. Or meaningless and humiliating:


The push to "do something" is what gave us the time-wasting farce which is TSA airport security. And, I have no doubt, something similar will be contrived again this time.

As for what should be done -- assuming anything is really necessary. I agree that firing missiles in metro areas is a seriously bad idea.

A better one might be to have DARPA to work up something like a laser battery which could take out small drones like this. (And that would have the additional plus of taking a while. Thus avoiding some stupid, and ineffective, "solution" whose only virtue is that it can be done quickly.)


I think Ugh means the appropriate amount of force was used. But if I'm wrong please correct me.

here's a cheap and eco-friendly solution: plant more trees on the Capitol lawn.

I think Ugh means the appropriate amount of force was used. But if I'm wrong please correct me.

That's right. No need for him to be blown out of the sky or gunned down upon landing based on the facts as known.

Should there be some sort of security review? Sure, but unless there's something easy and unobtrusive to do - which I don't think there is although I like cleek's suggestion - then I'd say we can live with the gyrocoptic menace.

And note that I believe the capitol lawn was open to the public once upon a time.

Personally, I think we go too far in protecting the President as it is. We're treating them almost like royalty at this point.

But Brett, this was the Capitol lawn, not the White House. So it was the Congress which was the target if anyone.

And note that I believe the capitol lawn was open to the public once upon a time.

But Ugh, that was back in the day when crime was...um...higher...

I thought I had a point but I got confused by reality...

My first reaction to all of this is that gyrocopters look like more fun than a barrel of monkeys.

My second thought was "God bless the freaks".

I'll bet the USPS was absolutely deee-lighted to have their logo on the tail of the flying beach chair.

I'm glad they didn't shoot the guy down, and I'm glad the general reaction has NOT been for everyone to run around freaking out and calling for a universal ban on ultralight aircraft. Well played, for once.

I think the fact that he announced his plans in the newspaper and social media, and that a friend of his had tipped the authorities beforehand, probably helped.

Surprises tend to increase the startle reaction.

Having a easily understandable and non-threatening explanation for his actions certainly helps in the "let's just remain calm" department.

But really, from the CNN anchor I saw and some statements from members of Congress this morning on the radio, this seems primed for more useless action. Hopefully not.

I'm glad they didn't shoot the guy down or otherwise hurt him. Apparently his son recently committed suicide and what he did - probably largely as a grief reaction - was humorous in a loony kinda way.

However, what if instead of being a harmless guy putting a funny face on "going postal", it was a terrorist and instead of saddle bags full of letters in was saddle bags full of high explosives mixed with nails and what if he did a kamakazi into the open doors of the capital just as Congress was slinking in for a session*?

I mean, after all, those islamo-punks in ISIS have been threatening that sort of thing.

So, IMO, the security breach should be taken somewhat seriously.

Where shooting missiles into high population density areas is not a good idea, lasers might work. Actually, flame throwers would get the job done pretty well too. A few automatic shotguns couldn't hurt.

* easy there Brett. I know what you're thinking and I feel you bro, but really now, that's not the way :-)

The guy wants campaign finance reform, and I doubt his so-called reps have been answering his mail, given that it probably didn't have any money in it.

Who doesn't?

Why doesn't the Post Office use this as an opportunity to push for drone mail delivery?

If it was John Boehner ordering a pizza, why, it would be the latest in technology and regulatory overkill.

I view this stunt as harmless constituent in-reach.

Take a page from Brett and company's flouting gun laws in New York State and start landing squadrons of lawnchairs with propellers all over the Capitol grounds.

Doesn't Boehner drone on and on about it being the People's House.

Well, now its the People's helipad.

Welcome to the Open Society.

This message was approved two and half centuries ago by Tench Coxe.

saddle bags full of high explosives

Where does one obtain these in the U.S. these days?

"just as Congress was slinking in for a session*?"

It's the slinking that leads to the hovering by guys who don't like this:


"saddle bags full of high explosives

Where does one obtain these in the U.S. these days?"

Probably Craig's list.


From Syria/IS via that other massive security fail aka our border with Mexico.

Wouldn't it be easier for them to just come here via ordinary means, acquire a few choice 2nd Amendments, and shoot up a shopping mall or 7? Or a football game or 3?

"Wouldn't it be easier for them to just come here via ordinary means, acquire a few choice 2nd Amendments, and shoot up a shopping mall or 7? Or a football game or 3?"

Seems to be one of those cultural things. They just really like bombs (or other forms of explosion, such as airplane induced) when killing innocents in a terrorist attack. The Tsarnaevs used bombs (incidentally small enough to be transported by a little gyro bird) instead of guns at the Boston Marathon.

Guns seem fine for shooting a cop or two when making your get away or shooting Syrian or Iraqi soldiers, Kurdish fighters and such in combat, but a good old fashioned terrorist attack seem to require a single decisive explosion.

And,there is probably a practical component to bomb preference. Unless your going after clueless little school children or disbelieving movie watchers stuck in a theater or capping infidel Christian prisoners in the back of the head after taking them captive (note: beheading preferred here) most of the time your intended victims scatter at run at the first shot. It is more difficult than you think to hit moving targets. One big boom that gets them all at once solves this problem.

What about flying pigs?


Doc, 36 hours maybe?

what if he did a kamakazi into the open doors of the capital

I'm not sure the doors are big enough to fly a gyrocopter through. It would take some serious flying skills, too.

Also, not to be a jerk, but "capitol".

I guess he could just blow himself up at the doors themselves, which will suck quite a bit for anyone nearby, but I'm not sure it would annihilate the entire Congress.

We're a couple of days away from the 20th anniversary of the OK City bombing. Time flies, as they say. That took a whole Ryder truck full of explosives. Likewise, WTC bombing #1 back in '93.

I'm not sure you could fit enough firepower in an ultralight to kill them all.

Speaking of OK City, the "they" in this comment:

They just really like bombs

probably applies to a broader demographic then you seem to be going for.

Does no one here remember Mathias Rust?

Hartmut: that didn't happen in America.

Therefore it didn't happen.

Hartmut - I was going to reference that too but the White House incident was much more analogous.

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