JetBlue Captain’s Father Died in 1995 Plane Crash
(NEW YORK) -- The father of suspended JetBlue pilot Clayton Osbon, who was restrained by passengers after going berserk on a Las Vegas-bound flight earlier this week, died in a 1995 plane crash while piloting a personal flight to Daytona Beach, Fla.
Ronald O. Osbon died after he crashed a small plane in Daytona Beach while on a 14 CFR Part 91 personal flight. His airplane was destroyed and the pilot and one passenger died from injuries after the April 14, 1995, crash, according to a National Transportation Safety Board report from the incident.
His son, Clayton Osbon, was hit Wednesday with criminal charges after the mid-air incident in which he turned off the radios and began to dim the monitor in the cockpit, then ranted about Sept. 11 and yelled ominous instructions in the jetliner's cabin, which was carrying 131 passenger and six crew members.
Wednesday's charges against Osbon, 49, were accompanied by an FBI affidavit that provides a fresh view of what went on in the cockpit of the plane before Osbon burst into the plane's cabin.
"Osbon began talking about religion, but his statements were not coherent," the affidavit said. "The [first officer] became concerned when Osbon said 'things just don't matter.' Osbon yelled over the radio to air traffic control and instructed them to be quiet."
Osbon turned off the radios and began to dim the monitor. The first officer became "really worried" when Osbon said, "We need to take a leap of faith," "We're not going to Vegas," and "began giving what the FO described as a sermon."
Osbon's behavior became ominous shortly after takeoff from New York's John F. Kennedy Airport. As the plane gained altitude, he mentioned something about "being evaluated" to the plane's first officer. The officer was not sure what Osbon meant.
The concerned officer suggested to Osbon that they invite an off-duty JetBlue captain who was traveling as a passenger to the cockpit, but, instead, Osbon abruptly left the cockpit.
In the cabin, Osbon allegedly "aggressively grabbed a flight attendant's hands" and mentioned "150 souls on board" before sprinting back to the galley and eventually trying to get back into the cockpit, where the first officer had already changed the security code.
Crew members also said that Osbon had "showed up at JFK later than he should have for the flight and missed the crew briefing."
The Federal Aviation Administration called the incident a medical emergency, but law enforcement sources have called the outburst a panic attack.
An unruly Osbon was subdued by at least five passengers after his co-pilot reportedly locked him out of the cockpit when he displayed potentially dangerous behavior. The flight from Kennedy Airport in New York was diverted to Amarillo, Texas.
On the ground, Osbon was taken off the plane in handcuffs and a wheelchair by Amarillo police. He is now in FBI custody.
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