Relative: JetBlue co-pilot doesn't think he's hero

JOHN SEEWER Associated Press Published:

TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) -- The co-pilot who landed a flight while passengers held down the captain doesn't think he's a hero, his mother-in-law said Thursday.

JetBlue Airways co-pilot Jason Dowd, who lives in eastern Ohio, was in the cockpit on Flight 191 from New York on Tuesday when federal prosecutors say Capt. Clayton Osbon began acting strangely.

Osbon rambled to Dowd about religion and was later wrestled down by passengers in the cabin and restrained while Dowd made an emergency landing in Texas.

"I'm glad for those people he was the co-pilot that day," Dowd's mother-in-law, Ruth Ann Kostal, said. She was not surprised he acted cool under pressure.

"He's a great guy," Kostal said. "He doesn't want to be known as a hero. Thank God he was there."

Dowd, who still lives in his hometown of Salem with his wife and their two young children, hasn't been able to come home yet because he's still being interviewed by federal authorities in New York, Kostal said.

Witnesses said Osbon told his co-pilot "things just don't matter" and sprinted down the center aisle, yelling jumbled remarks about Sept. 11 and Iran. Osbon was charged with interfering with a flight crew.

His behavior became increasingly erratic on the flight, worrying his fellow crew members so much that they locked him out of cockpit after he abruptly left for the cabin, according to a federal affidavit.

He allegedly encouraged Dowd that they take a "take a leap of faith," according to an FBI agent. "We're not going to Vegas," Osbon allegedly told his co-pilot in midflight.

Kostal said that she hasn't talked directly with her son-in-law, but that her daughter has since the bizarre flight ended.

Those who know Dowd said they could see him doing something heroic.

"I'd certainly trust him," said Kathy Hendricks, a real estate agent who knows the family. "I'd want to be on a plane that he was the pilot."

Patty Eaton, a secretary at the church Dowd's family attends, said she's known him since he was a teenager.

"He's a wonderful person," she said. "I can see him being a hero. It does not surprise me one bit that he acted so professionally."