JetBlue Co-Pilot Jason Dowd: Mom Proud of 'Cool and Calm' Son

PHOTO: A JetBlue captain is in FBI custody after sources tell ABC News he was acting erratically on a flight that was diverted from JFK to Amarillo, Texas.PlayCourtesy KVII/Steve Miller/The Reporters Edge
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The mother of a JetBlue co-pilot who reportedly locked the plane's ranting-and-raving pilot out of the cockpit during a flight this week said she is not surprised by her son's "cool and calm" reaction to the emergency.

"He's been under pressure before with other things, and he handles it very well," Jean Dowd said of her son, Jason Dowd, in a telephone call with ABC News.

"We are very proud," she said. "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."

In fact, Jason Dowd doesn't want to be called a hero, other friends and relatives told The Associated Press, though his quick thinking aboard a Las Vegas-bound flight Tuesday reportedly kept the pilot, Clayton Osbon, 49, out of the plane's cockpit while the rest of the flight crew arranged an emergency landing in Amarillo, Texas.

Osbon was hit Wednesday with criminal charges after the mid-air incident in which he turned off the radios and began to dim the monitor in the cockpit, then ranted about Sept. 11 and yelled ominous instructions in the jetliner's cabin. The plane was carrying 131 passenger and six crew members.

"Osbon also yelled jumbled comments about Jesus, Sept. 11, Iraq, Iran, and terrorists," according to the criminal complaint filed against him. "He also yelled, 'Guys, push it to full throttle.'"

Jason Dowd has not come forward publicly as the co-pilot and JetBlue declined to confirm his identity, but his mother said she recognized his voice on cockpit recordings that have been made public.

"When we heard him talking to the tower there in Texas, we could tell by his voice that he was calm," she said. "And he landed the plane beautifully."

Jean Dowd said she spoke to her son briefly after the incident.

"We heard from him a little bit after later that night," she said. "He didn't talk very long because he wasn't supposed to say very much. He just said he was OK, but we could tell he was really nervous. Of course you are after something like that."

Wednesday's charges against Osbon were accompanied by an FBI affidavit that provided a fresh view of what went on in the cockpit of the plane before Osbon burst into the plane's cabin.

"Osbon began talking about religion, but his statements were not coherent," the affidavit said. "The [first officer] became concerned when Osbon said 'things just don't matter.'

"Osbon yelled over the radio to air traffic control and instructed them to be quiet."

According to the affidavit, the first officer became "really worried" when Osbon said, "We need to take a leap of faith," "We're not going to Vegas," and "began giving what the FO described as a sermon."

Osbon's behavior became ominous shortly after takeoff from New York's John F. Kennedy Airport. As the plane gained altitude, he mentioned something about "being evaluated" to the plane's first officer. The officer was not sure what Osbon meant.

The concerned officer suggested to Osbon that they invite an off-duty JetBlue captain who was traveling as a passenger to the cockpit, but, instead, Osbon abruptly left the cockpit.

In the cabin, Osbon allegedly "aggressively grabbed a flight attendant's hands" and mentioned "150 souls on board" before sprinting back to the galley and eventually trying to get back into the cockpit, where the first officer had already changed the security code.

Crew members also said that Osbon had "showed up at JFK later than he should have for the flight and missed the crew briefing."

The FAA called the incident a medical emergency, but law enforcement sources have called the outburst a panic attack.

"As of now, he's been taken off all active duties and responsibilities pending further investigation," JetBlue spokeswoman Tamara Young said.

An unruly Osbon was subdued by at least five passengers after his co-pilot reportedly locked him out of the cockpit when he displayed potentially dangerous behavior. The flight from Kennedy Airport in New York was diverted to Amarillo, Texas.

On the ground, Osbon was taken off the plane in handcuffs and a wheelchair by Amarillo police. He is now in FBI custody.

Osbon's last medical exam was in December 2011, according to the Federal Aviation Administration. His FAA record has no accidents or incidents and no enforcements.

Family and friends say they are shocked to learn of the incident. Bud Lawyer, Osbon's next-door neighbor in the small Georgia community where he resides with his wife, told the Associated Press that he knows Osbon does attend church but rarely spoke of it, and the two would only casually talk about events in the Middle East.

"He wouldn't intentionally hurt anyone," Lawyer said. "He's a kind-hearted, generous, loving teddy bear. It's totally out of character for this to happen to him."

ABC News' Kevin Dolak, Christina Ng and Josh Haskell contributed to this report.