March 29, 2012 by staff
Jetblue Pilot, No one recalls JetBlue Airways captain Clayton Osbon coming unhinged before. Not the airline that let him fly for 12 years, the neighbors in his secluded waterfront community or the friends he tried selling weight-loss shakes to on the side.
Now federal prosecutors have charged Osbon following his bizarre unraveling aboard Flight 191 to Las Vegas, describing in court records a midair breakdown they say began with cckpit ramblings about religion and ended with passengers wrestling him to the cabin floor.
Witness accounts of Osbon telling his co-pilot “things just don’t matter” and sprinting down the center aisle – yelling jumbled remarks about Sept. 11 and Iran – baffled longtime friends and fellow pilots who said they couldn’t remember previous health or mental problems.
Osbon, 49, was instead described as an affable aviator who took his private plane for joyrides in his spare time, shied from talking politics and hosted Super Bowl parties. His father was also a pilot who died in a 1995 plane crash while on a sunken treasure hunt, according to a Wisconsin newspaper in the town where his family lived.
“I can’t say whether it’s shock or disbelief,” said Justin Ates, a corporate jet pilot and friend who also lives in Richmond Hill. “It’s hard to describe what you feel when you see something that’s completely 100 percent out of character.”
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