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Entries in JetBlue (24)

Thursday
Aug092012

JetBlue Pilot Who 'Went Berserk' Suffers Psychotic Episode in Hospital

Scott Olson/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The suspended JetBlue pilot who "went berserk" mid-air earlier this year has now suffered a psychotic episode in a mental hospital, prompting a federal judge in Texas to order that he remain under observation for an additional 30 days before his case is concluded.

Capt. Clayton Osbon, 49, was found not guilty by reason of insanity last month on charges of interfering with a flight crew after he went on an in-flight rampage in March. A psychologist testified the meltdown was a brief psychotic episode triggered by sleep deprivation.

U.S. District Court Judge Mary Lou Robinson ordered Osbon to undergo an evaluation at a mental health facility, which was scheduled to be completed this week.

Federal examiners were ordered to create a report on whether the release of Osbon would create "substantial risk of bodily injury to another person or serious damage to the property of another."

But a forensic psychologist notified the court via email of Osbon's recent psychotic episode Aug. 3, according to court documents. Three days later, the court received a letter from the warden of the Federal Medical Center requesting that Osbon's evaluation be extended.

The nature of Osbon's psychotic episode and what prompted it were not revealed.

Attorneys for both sides in the case agreed to the extension, which lasts until Oct. 15, court documents stated.

The veteran pilot could have faced 20 years in prison for interfering with the instructions of a flight crew, but was found not guilty by Robinson.

"The defendant appeared to suffer from a severe mental disease or defect that impaired his ability to appreciate the nature, quality or wrongfulness of his behavior," she said in her ruling.

Witnesses told ABC News that Osbon's behavior on the flight, which was headed to Las Vegas, was nothing short of bizarre.

"The captain of the plane just went berserk," passenger Wayne Holmes told ABC News in March. "He came out of the other end of the plane -- came running back to the cockpit and he was shouting out these numbers -- 500 something. He started banging on the cockpit door."

A passenger subdued Osbon and the flight was diverted safely to Amarillo, Texas, where he was taken into custody.

Osbon will be evaluated until Oct. 15. Federal examiners will then have a two-week time frame to provide the court with a report on Osbon's progress.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Jul172012

JetBlue Pilot Suffers Eye Injury from Green Laser

Scott Olson/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- A JetBlue pilot suffered an eye injury when a green laser was pointed directly into the cockpit as the plane was en route to New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport.

The Federal Aviation Administration says the incident took place Sunday when the green laser was shone through the windshield of JetBlue Flight 657 from Syracuse, hitting the first officer in the eye.  The pilot immediately notified the control tower after the incident.

“JetBlue 657, that was about 5,000 feet, right?” the control tower asked.

“Yes sir, 5,000 feet.  Two green flashes, and it caught the first officer in his eye,” the pilot said.

An FAA preliminary incident report described the pilot’s injury as minor but did not provide details.  It was unknown whether the injured pilot was in command of the aircraft at the time, but the flight landed safely at JFK 10 minutes later.

“Use caution.  I just had an unauthorized laser illumination event about seven miles ahead of you at 5,000 feet,” the control tower said.  “JetBlue 657, we are looking into the matter.”

In 2011, there were more than 3,500 documented incidents of lasers being pointed at aircrafts, up from less than 300 in 2005.  Two planes were reportedly targeted by a green laser beam in San Francisco last week.  Those pilots were not injured.

“What happens is that pinpoint spreads out as it gets up higher and farther away, and what may seem like a very faint light to you, in a cockpit, gets almost blinding,” San Francisco International Airport spokesman Mike McCarron said.

Authorities say they’re ramping up their response efforts and pursuing stricter penalties.

“Interfering with a flight crew is a federal crime.  So, the FBI has looked into these laser incidents over the last several years,” said Richard Kolko, special agent with the FBI.  “We’ve located some of them.  Several of them have been prosecuted.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Jun202012

JetBlue Flight Forced into Emergency Landing in Las Vegas

Scott Olson/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- A mechanical problem on a JetBlue flight from Las Vegas to New York this weekend led to an emergency landing, grounding 135 rattled passengers.

JetBlue confirmed to ABC News on Wednesday that the captain of Flight 194 declared an emergency landing on Sunday because of a "mechanical indication" in the cockpit.  Officials at Las Vegas' McCarran Airport said the aircraft had hydraulic problems in the air and had to return to the airport.

One passenger said the plane started to lurch from side to side and bounce.

"I've never had that kind of hydroplaning feel," passenger Tom Mizer told ABC News Radio.

The movement frightened passengers, many of whom got sick.

"Everybody on the plane started to get really nervous.  People were starting to throw up," Mizer said.

"I don't think I've ever had that kind of sustained tension and fear in my life," he added.

A flight attendant reportedly walked down the aisle during the aborted flight, telling passengers to look at her smile to see that she was not scared.

Once it had landed, the aircraft had to be towed to the gate because the front wheels of the plane had become inoperable, according to officials at McCarran Airport.

"On Sunday, June 17, shortly after takeoff, the captain of Flight 194 from Las Vegas to New York's JFK declared an emergency due to the loss of yellow hydraulics.  The flight returned to McCarran Airport, where it landed safely at 7:37 p.m. local," JetBlue said in a statement.  "A replacement aircraft accommodated customers for a 10:13 p.m. local departure, arriving at JFK at 5:59 a.m. ET."

"JetBlue takes all incidences seriously, and the safety of our customers and crewmembers is our number one priority.  The actions the crew took in response to this event truly represent who we are and our core value -- safety," the statement read.

The flight was later scheduled to leave McCarran at 9:40 p.m., and landed in New York at 5:33 a.m. local time.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Jun152012

JetBlue Pilot Who Disrupted Flight Declared Competent to Stand Trial

Courtesy: Randall County Sheriff’s Office(DALLAS) -- A Texas judge has cleared the way for a JetBlue Airways pilot to go to trial.

JetBlue flight 191 from New York was about half-way to Las Vegas on March 27 when, according to passengers, captain Clayton Osbon started screaming about al Qaeda and had to be restrained. The first officer radioed for help and turned toward Amarillo.

"JetBlue 191, emergency," the voice from the cockpit radioed to air traffic controllers. "We're going to need authorities and medical to meet us at the airplane.

Now a judge has found the 49-year-old Osbon competent to stand trial, while simultaneously sealing the results of his psychiatric evaluation.  Osbon, a pilot since 1989, is charged with interfering with a flight crew.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Jun142012

Passengers Sue JetBlue for Pilot Meltdown Incident

Scott Olson/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Passengers aboard the March JetBlue flight on which a pilot had to be locked out of the cockpit and restrained after a rant about al Qaeda and 9/11 have filed the first lawsuit related to the incident.

The lawyer representing some of the passengers aboard JetBlue Flight 191 says the airline must answer why a pilot with known mental-health issues was allowed to fly a commercial plane.

"We know an insane pilot was flying the plane," attorney Steven Epstein said.  "Now we want to know why."

Capt. Clayton Osbon, 49, was suspended from his duties and charged with interfering with flight crew instructions after the March 27 incident on the flight from New York to Las Vegas, during which he ranted at passengers after he was locked out of the cockpit by his co-pilot and had to be restrained until the plane could make an emergency landing in Amarillo, Texas.

Osbon will be in court Friday morning to see whether he is competent to stand trial.  He could face up to 20 years in prison, according to the Department of Justice.

Ten passengers from the flight filed the first of what is expected to be many lawsuits demanding unspecified damages from Osbon and JetBlue.

"People pay attention when money's involved," Flight 191 passenger Marshall Brooks said.  "This is going to get JetBlue's attention, force them to do something about it, and not sweep it under the rug."

Both Brooks and fellow passenger Kathy Euler thought their lives were in serious danger aboard Flight 191, which was carrying 135 passengers and six crew members.  Euler said she now has trouble trusting airline pilots when she places her life in their hands.

"I am petrified," Euler said.  "You normally walk right past the pilot, go to your seat.  I will stop and look at every pilot. ... When the pilot has to be subdued by passengers, the first thought in your mind is, 'Is this plane going to crash.'"

Brooks, Euler and the rest of the passengers say the JetBlue response to the episode -- offering them credit for the disrupted flight and nothing more -- has been insulting.

The airline said there would be "no comment on pending litigation."  Osbon's attorney did not respond to request for comment.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
May112012

JetBlue Removes Toddler in ‘No-Fly List’ Error

Scott Olson/Getty Images(FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla.) -- JetBlue cited a “computer glitch” on Thursday as the reason it removed an 18-month-old girl from a plane bound for New Jersey earlier this week.

The toddler and her parents were flying from Fort Lauderdale, Fla. to Newark, N.J. on Tuesday when they were asked to get off the plane they had just boarded, ABC News affiliate WPBF reported.

The girl’s parents called the experience “humiliating,” and her father told WPBF,  "We were put on display like a circus act because my wife wears a hijab.” He added that he thought his family was being profiled because they’re of Middle Eastern descent.

JetBlue’s statement notes: “Upon boarding Flight 510 at Fort Lauderdale International Airport last evening, a customer’s boarding pass was flagged in our system as being on the TSA’s No Fly list. We notified and collaborated with TSA. TSA cleared the customers to travel on JetBlue.

“We are investigating this particular incident. We believe this was a computer glitch. Our crewmembers followed the appropriate protocols, and we apologize to the family involved in this unfortunate circumstance.”

The family decided not to reboard the plane and told WPBF they are uncomfortable about getting back on the same airline for the flight home.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Apr122012

JetBlue Pilot Accused of In-Flight Meltdown Indicted

Courtesy: Randall County Sheriff’s Office(LUBBOCK, Texas) -- Clayton Osbon, the JetBlue Airways pilot accused of having a mid-flight meltdown last month, has been indicted on one count of interfering with a flight crew.

Osbon had to be tackled by passengers last month as he screamed about religion and terrorists.

Osbon is undergoing a psychiatric exam now to figure out if he's sane and can stand trial.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Apr022012

JetBlue Pilot Held in Jail Following First Court Appearance

Courtesy: Randall County Sheriff’s Office(AMARILLO, Texas) -- JetBlue Capt. Clayton Osbon is being held in a Texas jail without bond following his first court appearance Monday, where he smiled at his wife in the courtroom but spoke very little.

Osbon, 49, only answered "yes" or "no" to questions from Magistrate Judge Clinton E. Averitte regarding Osbon's understanding of the charges against him and his right to an attorney.

"He was advised of his rights and the government filed a motion for pre-trial detention," courtroom deputy Beverley Bratcher told ABC News. "It was a quick initial appearance."

The hearing was Osbon's first public appearance since an apparent breakdown last week on a flight from New York to Las Vegas, during which he screamed about September 11 and religion, was locked out of the cockpit, and had to be restrained by passengers until the plane could make an emergency landing in Texas.

JetBlue Flight 191 was carrying 135 passengers and six crew members. A flight attendant suffered from some bruising to the ribs during the scuffle, but no one was seriously injured.

Osbon has been federally charged with interfering with flight crew instructions. According to the Department of Justice, the charge could be punishable by up to 20 years in prison.

He was not asked to enter a guilty or not-guilty plea Monday.

Osbon appeared in an Amarillo, Texas, federal court for a seven-minute hearing where federal prosecutors asked that he be held without bond until a detention hearing on Thursday. The judge agreed and Osbon is being held in the Randall County Jail in Amarillo without bond.

Osbon's attorney, E. Dean Roper, did not respond to requests for comment from ABC News.

According to an FBI affidavit, "Osbon began talking about religion, but his statements were not coherent. The [first officer] became concerned when Osbon said 'things just don't matter.'"

"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.'"

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.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Apr022012

JetBlue Pilot's Family Thanks Crew and Passengers for Compassion

Scott Olson/Getty Images(AMARILLO, Texas) -- The family of Clayton Osbon, the JetBlue pilot who was wrestled to the floor following his bizarre rantings, on Sunday thanked the crew and passengers of the plane "for their effective yet compassionate handling of the situation."

"It is our belief, as Clayton's family, that while he was clearly distressed, he was not intentionally violent toward anyone," Connye Obson, Clayton's wife, said. "We know you were placed in an awful situation and we appreciate your ability to respond professionally."

The statement released on Sunday was the first from Osbon's family since the incident on Flight 191, and in it Connye Obson asked the public to respect his privacy.

Osbon's wife also expressed gratitude to "the kind and compassionate team of doctors and staff at Northwest Texas Healthcare System in Amarillo, as well as the many friends, coworkers, and loved ones who have reached out to us to wish Clayton well during this challenging time."

She added that while the family appreciated and understood "the public's interest in our family's current situation," neither Clayton nor his family would grant any interviews or make further statements.

"We hope you can empathize and understand that our focus completely surrounds Clayton's recovery and the path that lies immediately ahead," she said.

Osbon faces criminal charges following last week's 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.

According to an FBI affidavit, "Osbon began talking about religion, but his statements were not coherent. The [first officer] became concerned when Osbon said 'things just don't matter.'"

"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.'"

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

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Mar302012

JetBlue Co-Pilot's Mom Proud of 'Cool and Calm' Son

Scott Olson/Getty Images(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







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