Details on the Jet Blue Meltdown Pilot
INSIDE EDITION looks into the man behind the mid-air meltdown on a JetBlue flight that had passengers fearing for their lives.
Before his mid-air meltdown, 49-year-old Clayton Osbon appeared to be the kind of pilot anyone would want at the controls.
Just last year he said in a magazine profile, "I've been instrument flying since before I could see over the dashboard—sitting on phone books."
He's been with JetBlue since the airline began operation in 2000. JetBlue CEO Dave Barger—interviewed on the Today show—calls him a model pilot.
"I've known the captain personally for a long period of time, and there's been no indication of this at all in the past," said Barger.
"You know this man personally? What's your experience with him? What's his background? Any other complaints against him?" asked Matt Lauer.
"Consummate professional man," replied Barger.
Clayton Osbon rents an apartment in a house in New York City's Ozone Park. It's close to JFK Airport—his home base for Jet Blue—and he stays there between flights. Neighbors say they're shocked by his mid-air meltdown.
One neighbor has known Osbon for ten years, and says, "He's was perfectly calm all the times I saw him. I still can't believe it."
Obson's main residence is on a river in Savannah, Georgia. He's a grandfather and calls himself a devout Christian and conservative Republican.
His Facebook page lists his favorite activities as "Working Hard" and "Praising God."
The 6-foot-4 250-pound Osbon also has a sideline business—selling weight-loss products including a "shake mix that tastes like a cake mix."
So what caused the airborne freak out seen around the world?
His wife of seven years, Connye, calls it "a panic attack," and says, "there are several different sides to every story. Just keep that in mind."
On CBS This Morning amed hero pilot Sully Sullenberger said he's never heard of a pilot freak out like this one. He praised the co-pilot for locking Osbon out of the cockpit.
"This is just an extraordinarily rare event. What's really important is this first officer was obviously experienced and qualified to handle the airplane by himself, and we need to make sure that's always the case," said Sullenberger.
Pilots having mental health issues are very rare, but not entirely unheard of.
Colin Hughes became a YouTube sensation with a paper bag over his head to hide his identity.
"I am the Prozac Pilot," said Hughes.
He suffers from depression and says there are many other pilots just like him.
"There are thousands of pilots who suffer from depression but do not dare seek help because they know their careers will come to an abrupt halt," Hughes said in a YouTube video.
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