New York —
A JetBlue Airways pilot has made his first court appearance for the midair meltdown on a New York-to-Las Vegas flight that forced his co-pilot to make an emergency landing. Prosecutors urged him to be held behind bars, even as his family said he never meant to hurt anyone.
The pilot, Clayton Osbon, appeared in an Amarillo, Texas, courtroom Monday with his hands cuffed behind his back, looking drawn but smiling at his wife, Connye Osbon, who was in court with JetBlue representatives. It was his first public appearance since he was removed from Flight 191 and taken to a hospital after being tied up with passengers' belts.
Osbon said "I do" when a judge asked him if he understood his rights and the charges against him. He is due back in federal court Thursday for a preliminary hearing on the charge of interfering with a flight crew during the March 27 flight.
In a statement released over the weekend, Connye Osbon defended her husband, whose frightening meltdown was caught on several passengers' video cameras. "It is our belief, as Clayton’s family, that while he was clearly distressed, he was not intentionally violent toward anyone," she said.