Jason Dowd, the JetBlue co-pilot who reacted to his captain's midair meltdown this week by locking him out of the cockpit and safely landing the plane, was voted his high-school’s ‘‘most understanding’’ senior, Bloomberg reported.
Meanwhile, Dowd's proud parents have also spoken about their son's bravery, with his mother saying she was unsurprised by her son's "cool and calm" behavior, and his father saying he wouldn’t like being called a hero.
Dowd, 41, doesn’t think he did anything special March 27 when Capt. Clayton Osbon, piloting Flight 191 began behaving erratically, according to ABC News turning off the radios, dimming the monitor in the cockpit, ranting about Sept. 11 and yelling ominous instructions in the jetliner's cabin.
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Dowd became concerned about Osbon’s behavior shortly after the flight to Las Vegas left New York, according to an FBI affidavit.
He ‘‘became really worried’’ when Osbon said ‘‘we need to take a leap of faith’’ and ‘‘We’re not going to Vegas,’’ the affidavit said.
Osbon reportedly left the cockpit and was then locked out by Dowd, eventually being tackled by passengers as he pounded on the cockpit door, demanding to be let back in.
Osbon was charged by federal prosecutors Wednesday with interfering with his flight crew and has been suspended by JetBlue, pending further investigation.
Dowd is a husband and father of two who still lives in the same town he grew up in, Salem, Ohio, according to CBS.
According to Bloomberg, while a student at Salem High School, where he ran track and cross-country, he was a member of the band, a science lab aide and voted ‘‘most understanding’’ boy of his senior class in 1990, according to the high-school yearbook.
He graduated from Kent State in 1995 with a major in aerospace technology and a concentration in aerospace flight technology.
Lewis Dowd, 82, reportedly said his son, a qualified flight instructor who had been flying with JetBlue for seven or eight years and had flown before with Osbon, decided in college he wanted to be a pilot.
Of his son's actions, he said: "You do what you have to do, and I guess that was part of his job," said Lewis Dowd, 82. "There are a lot of good people, a lot of level-headed people out there. He did the right thing."
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Jean Dowd said of her son: "He's been under pressure before with other things, and he handles it very well. We are very proud. But that was the job he was paid to do. And we are always proud of him. We have been proud of him his whole life."