JetBlue Pilot Says He Was Insane During Mid-Flight Meltdown

Why would an airplane pilot start freaking out and yelling about a bomb during a flight? Insanity, of course. The JetBlue pilot who flipped out midair last month will plead that he was insane during the incident, his lawyer says. He was indicted in federal court in Texas last week for interfering with the crew.

The pilot, whose meltdown prompted an emergency landing, was suspended afterward from JetBlue.

His attorney says he’ll use the insanity defense, reports Reuters. He’s been undergoing court-ordered psychiatric examination to determine if he could stand trial, but the results of that examination haven’t been made public.

According to the FBI, the pilot’s freakout started while he was at the controls of the plane on its way to Las Vegas, about halfway through. Officials claim he started saying, “Things just don’t matter,” and told the first officer, “We’re not going to Vegas.”

He then left the cockpit and began running up and down the aisle and banged on a bathroom door, tried to get back into the cockpit and was restrained by passengers. The FBI says that while he was being restrained, he yelled about Iraq, Iran and terrorists and shouted things like “Pray now for Jesus Christ,” and pointed toward the cockpit to yell, “Guys, push it to full throttle!”

JetBlue pilot who had midair meltdown to plead insanity-filing [Reuters]


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  1. Bsamm09 says:

    Sweet an admittedly insane person flying a plane.

  2. Guppy06 says:

    Compared to their competitors, if the worst you can say about jetBlue is that the crew is a little crazy, they’re doing pretty well.

    • mianne prays her parents outlive the TSA says:

      And given that the other pilots were not only sane enough to realize he was off his rocker, but diplomatic enough to get him to leave the cockpit voluntarily then locking him out.

      “hey Joe, you’re looking a little parched. Why don’t you see if they’ve got any Fresca in the galley?”

  3. keith4298 says:

    The man was AT the controls and DIDN’T take down the plane. I’m thinking that insane is a good way to go here.

  4. Jane_Gage says:

    You’ll get no argument from me.

  5. shepd says:

    Really? He was insane? How could anyone have guessed?

  6. Cat says:

    When this all blows over, he can open a nice furniture store where the prices are “Sofa King INSANE!”

  7. Erika says:

    Yeah. I don’t think he should be allowed to fly an airplane again. His next episode might end with a burning plane and dead people. :

  8. Maz says:

    All I can think of is that CSI episode in the first season where the passenger had brain swelling and the altitude severely aggravated the condition to the point where he had an episode. Then the passengers stomped him to death.

    There’s no way to prove that something about the conditions at 30k feet set him off.

  9. Major Tom Coming Home says:

    If he surrenders his pilots’ license, drivers license, firearms, and is found to be incompetent I would have no problem letting him walk on the charges. In a few years when he gets his act together he can be found competent and get his drivers license back, but not the other things.

  10. RandomHookup says:

    He must have read Catch 22… if you’re insane, you can’t fly; if you are sane, you get convicted. Pick your poison.

  11. cyberpenguin says:

    Everyone’s focusing on the “insane Jet Blue pilot”.

    What about the remainder of the crew? They responded cooly (cool as in cool under fire) in a quick manner to deal with the adverse situation, removed him from the cockpit, changed his access code and got the plane on the ground.

    Situation dealt with. Nobody died.

    Kudos to them and the passengers that helped.

    • scoosdad says:

      True. And while I’m very happy that no one was hurt and this turned out OK in the end, I feel sorry for the man’s wife and family having to suffer from what appeared to be a very bizarre mental breakdown for this guy at absolutely the wrong time. His career and life’s ambition is gone no matter what the outcome, and I’m sure he never intended it to happen in the first place.

      The brain is still one of those things we don’t fully understand.

  12. AllanG54 says:

    A quick lobotomy and he’ll be back in the left seat before you know it.

  13. gman863 says:

    Is it true Samual L. Jackson will play the part of the pilot in the upcoming movie version, “Insane on the Plane”?

  14. dicobalt says:

    I still think he watched news commentary channels too much.

  15. Tank Fuzzbutt says:

    “Pray now for Jesus Christ.” Yup. He’s insane.

  16. PurplePenquin says:

    My first thought when I heard about this tale was that someone had dosed the guy with LSD or whatever the kids are whippin’ up in the home lab these days….

  17. buytme says:

    As someone who has had a delusional psychotic episode (only once fortunately and hopefully never again) it is incredible to me that this man is being prosecuted. Obviously there should be an investigation into whether he had a history of mental illness and if so why he was allowed to pilot an aircraft it if included psychotic episodes prior. If this was a first for him he just needs good psychiatric care and familial support, not a media shit storm.