Say what you want about the journalistic principles of the New York Post; that headline was brilliant. They used it to describe what happened when a JetBlue pilot went off his head (that is, I believe, the technical term) and potentially tried to take down a plane he was supposed to be safely flying to Las Vegas.
According to reports, Captain Clayton Osborn got to his flight from New York to Sin City much later than usual. Apparently, the destination was part of the problem. He reportedly started talking about religion as soon as he got on the bird, muttering about the sinfulness of the town where they were meant to land.
Now, I’m sorry. I have sympathy for those whose minds are less than sound, be it temporarily or permanently (Lord knows I’ve had my doubts about my own). And I have faith, however I may wrestle with it. But if you get on a plane and start talking about religion? One of us is getting off said plane before it taxis to the runway, knowwhatI’msayin’?
At the controls, Capt. Osborn apparently told air traffic controllers to be quiet. In the air, he shut down some of the stuff that was supposed to be turned on, including the lights inside the cockpit. And then he told his co-pilot that “things just don’t matter” and “we need to take a leap of faith.”
“We’re not going to Vegas,” he said.
Now. If you’re going to tell me my flight isn’t going to where I thought it was going, then the next thing you say had better be, “We’re going to Hawaii instead.” This guy? This guy didn’t really specify where they were going instead.
But then the captain made a mistake that foiled his plan. He left the cockpit. And the co-pilot? Locked him out.
This is getting so good, right?
Our boy Osborn then went alternately speaking calmly with the flight crew and rampaging about the cabin, yelling stuff and grabbing flight attendants in ways most captains have never grabbed a flight attendant before (and that’s saying something). So the co-pilot got on the intercom – because at this point I guess the cat’s out of the bag and everyone pretty much knows they’ve got a problem – and told basically everybody on the plane to restrain Capt. Osborn.
Flight Team Avenger! Go! Provided you’ve understood a single word of what was just said on the piece of crap intercom!
In true post-9/11 American fashion, a bunch of people jumped on the dude – who was pretty big, as I understand, and was ranting about bombs and Al Qaeda, from what I’ve read. It kind of seems like he wasn’t yelling that he was going to be the Al Qaeda bomber guy… more like he was scared someone else was going to be. But still, I’d prefer that those words not be used in-flight.
And you have to ask yourself: what would I do if I were on that plane? The general consensus among myself and those I’ve talked with about this is that everything would be on the table. Mixed martial arts, biting, hair-pulling… hanging onto a leg while he drags us down the aisle… all options and very likely to be employed.
There’s video of this whole thing, by the way, taken by a passengers. It’s hard to hear what’s going on toward the front of the plane, but you can see a bunch of people standing in the aisle and leaning on their seats.
Kind of makes you realize there’s not a whole lot of room to wrestle a guy to the floor on a plane. Nothing on the little Cartoon Card O’ In-Flight Problem Solving demonstrates how to take down a deranged captain. Oh, and in case this hasn’t become, like, really, really obvious, there was no federal air marshal on this particular flight.
There was, however, an off-duty pilot deadheading back from wherever he had been. And so he went up to the cockpit and took over, landing the plane at its diversion point: the not-so-Vegasy city of Amarillo, Texas.
Once on the ground, Captain Crazypants gets taken down by the feds, all the while screaming and hollering about Iraq and Israel. Just randomly yelling out the names of countries we’re kind of allied with but sort of kind of quietly not very comfortable around. And then… and then he yells, “Oh, I’m so distraught!”
Watch and listen (sorry if there’s an ad first):
Wait… is this…?
Are you, like, Will Ferrell in a costume, or something?
Is Ashton Kutcher on this flight? Are we being punk’d? Who yells, “Iraq! Israel! Oh, I’m so distraught!” while actually being distraught? How is the next thing he says not “He punted Baxter!” or “Milk was a bad choice!”?
(I’m quoting Anchorman starring Will Ferrell, in case you’re completely lost. You should see it. It’s awesome. And there’s gonna be a sequel, and I’m not groaning with dread. So that’s a hearty endorsement.)
Amazingly, nobody was badly hurt in this whole endeavor, and also the plane stayed in the air until it landed completely properly and not even a little bit on fire. What are the odds that you’ll have an off-duty pilot deadheading on your flight right when an on-duty pilot loses his mind? Not very high, to my way of thinking.
Luck, be a lady tonight. Get those passengers to Vegas – every one of ’em’s gonna hit the jackpot.