Charge brought against JetBlue pilot Clayton Osbon after mid-flight outburst (+video)
Clayton Osbon, the JetBlue pilot whose erratic behavior mid-flight led the co-pilot to lock him out of the cockpit, was charged Wednesday with 'interfering' with crew instructions. What led a 'consummate professional' to come unglued remains a mystery to the public.
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A native of Milwaukee, Osbon began pursuing a career as an airline pilot in about 1986, the article says, in part because he could not afford to pursue a post-graduate degree. At one point, he considered joining the Navy in the hopes of flying F-14s off carrier decks – and further in the future maybe joining the astronaut training program – but the Navy rejected him, it recounts.Skip to next paragraph
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“They weren’t issuing any waivers, at the time, for eyesight, and they threw me out on the physical – on the seventh stage – for a slight astigmatism in my right eye," Osbon told writer Christine S. Lucas, who interviewed him. "That broke my heart a little bit.”
At the time of the interview, Osbon was 47, and he confessed to the reporter that at least some of his desire to join the Navy had to do with seeing the 1986 movie "Top Gun," which glorified the exciting life and heroism of carrier pilots.
Instead, Osbon "remained a civilian and continued flight instructing," Ms. Lucas wrote in her article, including flying 35 types of general aviation aircraft and accumulating 18,000 hours in the cockpit. In January 1994, Osbon was hired by private jet operator NetJets, where he flew advanced jets, including the Gulfstream IV, around the world, living abroad in Lisbon, Portugal, and Lyon, France.
“Gulfstream pilots are very proud to fly Gulfstreams,” Osbon explained to Lucas. “When they get to that level in their career – when they are flying Gulfstreams – they feel good about themselves.”
“It’s fun to fly,” Osbon continued, according to the article. “If you’re going to finish your career or get to the top of the ladder as a corporate pilot, Gulfstream would be one of those plateaus. You’d say to yourself, ‘I’ve arrived.’ ”
JetBlue's first commercial flight came in February 2000. Three months later, Osbon was hired to fly the company's Airbus 320 and regularly flies out of John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York, Osbon told the writer.
On his personal time, Osbon flies an L-4 Grasshopper up and down the Georgia coast, the article notes. The plane helps him connect with the community. Once a month he enjoys a pilot’s pancake breakfast with other pilots at his local hanger.
Osbon told the interviewer that he was working on a leadership course, with plans to one day be a motivational speaker.
“Putting it down on eight and a half by eleven sheets of paper,” he says. “It starts with a greater enhanced knowledge of one’s being…. You know, I’d like to think the world is more than just getting up in the morning, making a cup of coffee, going to work, coming home, kissing your wife good-night and going to bed.”
Right now, however, he's under the watchful eye of agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation at an undisclosed medical facility in Amarillo, the JetBlue spokesman said. The charges reported to have been levied against him could cost him his profession.
"There are several different sides to every story. Just keep that in mind," Osbon's wife, Connye Osbon, told ABCNews.com.
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