(NEW YORK) — The mother of a JetBlue co-pilot who reportedly locked the plane’s ranting-and-raving pilot out of the cockpit during a flight this week said she is not surprised by her son’s “cool and calm” reaction to the emergency.
“He’s been under pressure before with other things, and he handles it very well,” Jean Dowd said of her son, Jason Dowd, in a telephone call with ABC News.
“We are very proud,” she said. “But that was the job he was paid to do. And we are always proud of him. We have been proud of him his whole life.”
Jason Dowd’s quick thinking aboard a Las Vegas-bound flight Tuesday reportedly kept the pilot, Clayton Osbon, 49, out of the plane’s cockpit while the rest of the flight crew arranged an emergency landing in Amarillo, Texas.
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. The plane was carrying 131 passengers and six crew members.
“Osbon also yelled jumbled comments about Jesus, Sept. 11, Iraq, Iran, and terrorists,” according to the criminal complaint filed against him. “He also yelled, ‘Guys, push it to full throttle.'”
Jason Dowd has not come forward publicly as the co-pilot and JetBlue declined to confirm his identity, but his mother said she recognized his voice on cockpit recordings that have been made public.
“When we heard him talking to the tower there in Texas, we could tell by his voice that he was calm,” she said. “And he landed the plane beautifully.”
Jean Dowd said she spoke to her son briefly after the incident.
“We heard from him a little bit after later that night,” she said. “He didn’t talk very long because he wasn’t supposed to say very much. He just said he was OK, but we could tell he was really nervous. Of course you are after something like that.”
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Christopher Dawson, CNN
Eugene Scott, CNN
Ali Larkin, CNN
Madeline Holcombe, CNN