FAA Chief: Gyrocopter ‘Indistinguishable’ From Birds, Kite

WASHINGTON (AP) -

A small gyrocopter that flew through miles of the nation’s most restricted airspace before landing at the U.S. Capitol was “indistinguishable” on radar from non-aircraft such as a flock of birds, a kite or a balloon, the head of the Federal Aviation Administration said Wednesday.

FAA Administrator Michael Huerta told a House committee that the slow-moving gyrocopter appeared as an “irregular symbol” on radar monitored by air traffic controllers. Huerta and other officials said the small, unidentified object did not pose an apparent threat before landing on the Capitol’s West Lawn April 15.

Details about how the copter flight was tracked emerged Wednesday as questions continued two weeks after the open-air copter landed at the Capitol. Law enforcement agencies gave conflicting accounts about whether the copter could have been shot down and offered few answers about how the response was coordinated and what changes, if any, have been made in the aftermath of the incident.

Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), chairman of the oversight panel, said the contradictory testimony showed a breakdown in communication among the various agencies that protect the nation’s capital and its airspace