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JetBlue Pilot Goes Bonkers; Charged With Interfering With Flight Crew

 
By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Most often when someone on the plane has lost it, it’s a passenger. But this time was different.

JetBlue Pilot Clayton Frederick Osbon, 49, went a little off the deep end, yelling things about Jesus and Sept. 11. and terrorists. He was charged on Wednesday in federal court in the Northern District of Texas with interference with a flight crew.

According to the affidavit filed with the complaint, Osbon, a pilot on JetBlue Flight 191 from New York’s John F. Kennedy (JFK) Airport to Las Vegas, arrived at JFK on Tuesday later than he should have for the flight and missed the crew briefing.

As the plane was leaving JFK and climbing in altitude in its scheduled five-hour flight, Osbon said something to the first officer (FO) about being evaluated by someone, but the first officer didn’t know what he meant, authorities said.

Osbon then talked about his church and the need to “focus” and asked the first officer to take controls and work the radios. Osbon began talking about religion, but, according to the first officer,his statements were not coherent, authorities said.

The affidavit goes on to say that the first officer became concerned when Osbon said “things just don’t matter.”

According to the first officer, Osbon yelled over the radio to air traffic control and instructed them to be quiet.

Osbon turned off the radios in the aircraft, dimmed his monitors and sternly admonished the first officer for trying to talk on the radio.

When Osbon said “we need to take a leap of faith,” the first officer stated that he became very worried.

Osbon told the FO that “we’re not going to Vegas,” and began giving what the FO described as a sermon.

The affidavit states that the  first officer suggested to Osbon that they invite the off-duty JetBlue captain who was on board the flight into the cockpit. But Osbon abruptly left the cockpit to go to the lavatory, alarming the rest of the flight crew when he didn’t follow the company’s protocol for leaving the cockpit.

When flight attendants met Osbon and asked him what was wrong, he became aggressive and banged on the door of the occupied lavatory, saying he needed to get inside, authorities said.

While Osbon was in the lavatory, at the request of the first officer,  a flight attendant brought the off-duty captain to the cockpit where he assisted the first officer with the remainder of the flight.

When Osbon exited the lavatory, he walked to the rear of the aircraft, but along the way stopped and asked a male passenger if he had a problem. Osbon then sprinted back to the forward galley and tried to enter his code to re-enter the cockpit, the first officer announced on the public address system,  an order to restrain Osbon.

Several passengers assisted and brought Osbon down in the forward galley, where he continued to yell comments about Jesus, Sept. 11, Iraq, Iran and terrorists.

The first officer then declared an emergency and diverted the aircraft to Amarillo, Tex. , landing with passengers still restraining Osbon in the galley. Osbon was removed from the aircraft and taken to a facility in the Northwest Texas Healthcare System in Amarillo for medical evaluation, where he remains.

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