Student pilot allegedly tries to storm Alaska Airlines cockpit multiple times midflight

A student pilot tried getting into the cockpit of a cross-country flight to Dulles, Va., telling crew members he was merely “testing them” with this dangerous stunt, authorities said.

Nathan Jones, 19, was aboard Alaska Airlines Flight 322 from San Diego to Dulles International Airport on March 3 when he “made three separate attempts to go to the front of the plane and open the aircraft’s cockpit door,” according to an affidavit by Federal Air Marshal Thomas Pattinson.

Flight attendants “requested the assistance of off-duty law enforcement officers, who restrained Jones in flex cuffs and sat on either side of him for the remainder of the flight,” Pattinson added.

When flight attendants asked Jones what he was doing, the defendant allegedly said he “was testing them,” according to the affidavit.

Jones has been charged with alleged interference with a flight crew, which carries a maximum penalty of 20 years behind bars.

Jones had been living with his mother in Northern Virginia before this incident and defense lawyer Robert Jenkins wants his client psychologically evaluated before any kind of trial.

“We are very concerned about his mental health,” Jenkins said in a statement to NBC News on Wednesday. “I intend to request that the court evaluating him for competency to stand trial.”

The defense on Wednesday filed a letter from the jailers in Alexandria, Virginia, who said Jones is on suicide watch while displaying “incoherent speech, disorganized behavior, mood lability and appears to be experiencing psychosis.”

Jones needs hospital-level “care to stabilize his altered mental status that appears to be associated with psychiatric illness,” according to Anne Zalewski, a licensed clinical social worker for the jail.

“Without proper treatment, Mr. Jones is likely to continue to decompensate and continue to be a harm to himself,” Zalewski added.

After Flight 322 landed, Jones consented to have his belongings searched and investigators found “multiple notebooks with writings describing how to operate an aircraft, including take-off, in-air and landing techniques,” Pattinson wrote.

Jones’ “wallet contained a student pilot’s license,” the air marshal added.

For the rest of the trip, a beverage cart was placed at the cockpit door and one of flight attendant stood guard, officials said.

The FAA said in a statement on Wednesday that it’s aware of the incident, which was described as a “passenger disturbance.” That flight landed safely and the FAA is investigating, the agency added.

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