Scary Details Emerge On JetBlue Captain’s Meltdown

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This week a JetBlue Captain had a meltdown during a flight from JFK to Las Vegas. The co-pilot found him unfit to fly and locked him out of the cockpit. The details of his erratic behavior have emerged and would be pretty terrifying to anyone on board since he is The Captain of the flight.

Here is a summary of his erratic behavior during the flight as described in the FBI affidavit filed Wednesday in Federal District Court in Northern Texas. The FBI agent completed the affidavit after interviewing the First Officer (FO), an off duty JetBlue pilot on the flight, and two of the three flight attendants.

  • Captain Clayton Osborn (The Captain) showed up later than he should have for flight 191
  • The Captain missed the crew briefing before the flight
  • Upon climbing out of JFK The Captain said something to the FO about being evaluated “by someone”
  • The Captain spoke about his church and mentioned he needed to “focus”
  • The Captain then began speaking incoherently about his church giving the FO cause for concern when he stated “things just don’t matter’
  • The Captain yelled over the radio and instructed air traffic control to be quiet
  • The Captain then dimmed the lights and turned off the aircraft radios
  • The Captain then stated to the FO that “we need to take a leap of faith”
  • The Captain then started to try and correlate unrelated numbers such as frequencies and talked about his sins in Las Vegas
  • The Captain told the FO “were not going to Vegas”
  • Then roughly 3 1/2 hours into the flight Osborn left the cockpit at the same time the FO invited the off duty JetBlue pilot into the cockpit
  • The Captain did not follow security procedures when leaving the cockpit which alerted the crew
  • When he left the cockpit he grabbed one of the flight attendants arms and banged on the lavatory door indicating he had to go to the bathroom
  • When The Captain exited the lavatory he mentioned something to the effect of “150 souls on board”
  • He left for the back of the plane and asked a male passenger if he had a problem
  • The Captain then sprinted to the front of the plane and the flight attendants gave chase
  • The FO and off duty pilot locked the cockpit door and announced over the PA to restrain The Captain
  • As passengers were restraining The Captain one passenger mentioned that The Captain then stated “pray fucking now…”
  • The Captain also mentioned at this time “Guys push it full throttle”

At this time the plane was being diverted to Amarillo Texas. The plane landed with the assisting passengers on top of The Captain because the flight attendants did not want to risk The Captain getting up off the floor.

The co-pilot, flight attendants and passengers did a great job of restraining the captain who obviously posed a safety threat to the Airbus A320 plane that can carry up to 150 passengers. Here is an article from Yahoo describing the event and impact of pilot health screening.

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The Weekly Flyer writes about travel from a business traveler perspective. He travels the world every week accumulating points and miles along the way.

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  1. Just an amazing set of circumstances. The thing that struck me is why did the FO wait for 3.5 hours before doing something? Could he have done something (like ask the Captain to go out and get him something?).

  2. Hi Michael – I was thinking the FO did the same thing. He could have prompted the Captain to leave the cockpit in some way (e.g., go get the off duty pilot for something…), but it doesn’t come through that way in the report. He handled it well by staying in the cockpit with the Captain until he left then got the pilot and notified the flight attendants.

  3. religious nutcase….no different than the very ‘terrorists’ they are always trying to filter out. How come nobody is labeling this guy?

  4. Because it very much likely is a medical condition, unless there is information otherwise. From what I read, he was a consummate professional flying for Jetblue for a number of years. I believe his dad died in a plane crash as well, and I wouldn’t be surprised if there are underlying stresses that trigger the manic episode. For someone who worked his way into his role as a Captain, unfortunately, this marks the end of this career for him.

  5. Accidental enter press ^^

    I was just going to say we can’t exactly add everyone who claims a religion to a warning list. Sounds to me more like this guy had some kind of mental breakdown or brain disorder.

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