The airline pilot who tried to crash an Alaska Airlines flight after admitting to taking magic mushrooms was once the safety officer at his flying club in California, The Post has learned.Joseph Emerson, 44, was a “consummate professional” when a member of the NRI Flying Club in Concord, California, president Adam Silverthorne told The Post.“He was an authorized instructor in the NRI Flying Club and served for a year or two as the club safety officer where he promoted a culture of safety and continuous training,” he said.“It’s impossible for me to imagine him intentionally trying to harm anyone, it’s just not who he is.”Emerson served as the club’s safety officer for about two years, before leaving the post in 2019. He then quit the club in 2021 to make more room for work and time with his family, Silverthorne said.While off-duty and riding in the jump seat of a flight from Everett, Washington, to San Francisco Sunday, Emerson allegedly attempted to cut fuel to the plane’s engines before being restrained and removed from the cockpit. Even while cuffed in the back of the aircraft, he had to be held down by a flight attendant after attempting to open an emergency door, according to federal charging documents.Once the plane had made a safe emergency landing Emerson was charged with 83 counts of attempted murder — one for each passenger and crew member onboard the plane. When interviewed by law enforcement, he admitted he’d taken mushrooms before the flight and that he’d been depressed for about six months.“I’m admitting to what I did,” he told cops, according to an affidavit obtained by The Post. “I’m not fighting any charges you want to bring against me, guys.”Commercial airline pilots like Emerson are required to take drug tests every six months, and individual airlines frequently subject their pilots to random tests, explained Kevin Trexler, owner of the Trexair Aviation Academy, which is based out of the same airport as the NRI Flying Club.“He wasn’t flying the plane but the laws for sitting on the jump seat says you can’t be on drugs in the event there is an emergency,” Trexler said. “They are getting a ride from point A to point B, so the pay off is you have to be sober. In the event something happens to one of the pilots, you are expected to jump in.”The only time Trexler could ever recall a “jump seater” attempting to down a plane previously was in 1985, when FedEx employee Auburn Calloway tried to hijack and crash a cargo plane before the pilots restrained him. In that incident, Calloway’s attempt was part of a premeditated scheme to kill himself so his family could cash in on a multi-million dollar life insurance policy.Emerson had just renewed his airline transport pilot license with the Federal Aviation Authority on July 10. The agency closely monitors whatever prescription drugs commercial pilots are taking, Trexler said, adding that pilots on medication can’t fly unless their doctors have signed off with the FAA.“He probably just snapped. I wasn’t there, but I don’t think someone would do something like that after going through years and years of training. For someone to go through all of that training, get a job, work in the industry for that long and then want to destroy it — something else has to be wrong,” Trexler said.It is unclear if anything specific led to Emerson’s depression. Neighbors on his street in Pleasant Hill, California, told The Post he, his wife, and their two kids seemed perfectly happy and that they’d never heard or seen any fights among them.The flight was forced to make an emergency landing in Portland, Oregon, where Emerson was arrested.He appeared in federal and state courts in Portland on Tuesday where he was formally charged. Emerson pleaded not guilty to all charges against him.
25 Ekim 2023 - 22:05
Pilot Joseph Emerson I was the safety officer at his flying club before attempting to crash Alaska Airlines jet
The airline pilot who tried to crash an Alaska Airlines flight after admitting to taking magic mushrooms was once the safety officer at his flying club in California, The Post has learned. Joseph E…
25 Ekim 2023 - 22:05