That Magnificent Man In His Flying Machine

When I was a kid I loved to draw flying machines – submarines too – just like the gyrocopter – also called autogyro or gyroplane – that Florida mailman Doug Hughes landed on the west lawn of the Capitol on Wednesday. His flight in the ultralight contraption from Gettysburg to Washington, DC to deliver 535 stamped letters to the members of congress calling for campaign finance reform has inspired tweets calling him a hero.

A slender 61-year old, Hughes appeared before magistrate judge Deborah Robinson in the U.S. Postal uniform he wore for the flight. He wore earphones in the courtroom – usually provided when an interpreter is needed – possibly because of hearing loss after flying two hours with a lawnmower motor strapped to his back. At one point he attempted to speak directly to judge Robinson, but was told to let his lawyer do the talking.

After promising to return to court on May 8, Hughes was allowed to return home to Florida where he will be on home detention.



Art Lien

Courtartist is me, Art Lien. I've been sketching the courts since 1976, and for most of that time the U.S. Supreme Court has been my regular beat. I've been working almost exclusively for NBC News since 1980. Courtroom sketching is a form of visual journalism or reportage drawing that is slowly dying out. Where once upon a time news organization each had their own artist covering a story, today a "pool" artist often sketches for all. It is a demanding and stressful discipline where the drawing is often done directly and under tight deadline.

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