How far will you go for views? FAA says YouTuber intentionally parachuted out and filmed his own aeroplane crashing into forest
The US Federal Aviation Administration has imposed an emergency order on YouTuber Trevor Jacob and revoked his pilot’s licence.
Trevor Jacob in his follow up video of the incident, also revealed he is now on the FBI terrorist watchlist, after the FAA ruled Jacob had deliberately parachuted out and filmed his own aeroplane crashing into California’s Los Padres national forest.
There is an unfortunate history of YouTube content creators doing sometimes dangerous pranks or stunts. In February 2021 for example, a prank video for the streaming platform resulted in a young man being shot to death.
Pranks gone wrong
20-year-old Timothy Wilks and a friend had approached a group of people outside a family trampoline park in Nashville, America.
According to witnesses, the two men were allegedly holding large knives as part of a “prank” robbery.
But it seems that no-one opted to tell the group of people that it was a ‘prank’, and Wilks was shot by a 23-year-old, who told police he had had no idea it had been a “prank” and had been acting in self-defence.
Less harmful pranks are allowed on YouTube. In 2018 a former NASA engineer created an elaborate glitter-spray bomb to play a prank on package thieves.
But the previous year in 2017, a fatal stunt involved two YouTubers, when Monalisa Perez shot at her boyfriend, Pedro Ruiz, through a thick book, which he believed would stop a bullet.
It didn’t and Ruiz was killed, while Perez sent to prison for six months for the shooting.
Trevor Jacob could be the latest alleged prankster on YouTube.
According to the Guardian newspaper, the FAA concluded that he intentionally crashed his plane for the sake of gaining online views.
On 24 November 2021, Trevor Jacob was flying over California’s Los Padres national forest in his small single-engine plane when his engine stopped working.
“I’m over the mountains and I … have an engine out,” Jacob said into his camera while sitting in the cockpit. He then proceeded to jump out of the plane, filming himself using a selfie stick before landing with his parachute into an open field.
According to the Guardian newspaper, Jacob had filmed the whole incident and uploaded it to YouTube entitled ‘I Crashed My Plane‘.
Since being posted online 24 December, the video has racked up 2.37 million views.
The 12 minute video shows Jacob taking off and flying his 1940 Taylorcraft BL-65, which is single engined. The engine stops working and footage shows Jacob opening his door, swearing, but it is not clear from the footage if he made any meaningful attempt to restart the engine before bailing out.
The video shows the pilotless plane then plummeting to earth before crashing into the wilderness, which was shown from multiple cameras attached to the aeroplane.
Jacob sustained minor cuts and is filmed walking back to his crashed aeroplane, and thanking god and the universe, saying that is why he always travels with a parachute.
But the FAA was not convinced, and on 11 April, the US aviation regulator concluded its investigation into the incident, the Guardian reported.
The FAA determined that Jacob had crashed his aeroplane as a stunt, saying, “On November 24, 2021, you demonstrated a lack of care, judgement, and responsibility by choosing to jump out of an aircraft solely so you could record the footage of the crash.”
Supporting the FAA conclusion, it pointed to the fact that Jacob had attached multiple cameras to the outside of his plane, including a camera pointed in the direction of the propeller “in order to record video footage of the outside and inside of the plane during the flight.”
As more evidence the FAA cited included the sport parachute backpack container that Jacob put on before the flight, his opening the left side pilot door before claiming that the engine had failed, his failure to contact air traffic control on the emergency frequency before jumping out the plane and his lack of attempts to restart the engine by increasing airflow over the propeller, the Guardian reported.
The FAA also said that Jacob did not make any attempts to search for safe areas to land, even though “there were multiple within gliding range” in which he could have made a safe landing, and that he jumped out of the plane while holding a camera attached to a selfie stick and continued to record the plane during his descent.
Additionally, the agency found that Jacob had recovered then disposed of the plane wreckage, as well as recovered the cameras that he had attached to the plane before the flight.
As a result of its findings, the FAA revoked Jacob’s pilot license.
Jacob made a follow up video in which a friend flew him to a post office, so he could mail his licence back to the FAA.