YouTuber Jailed After Deliberately Crashing Plane For Views

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Trevor Jacob jailed after video of him intentionally parachuting out and filming his aeroplane crashing into forest

YouTuber Trevor Jacob has been sent to prison after impeding the federal investigation into the plane he crashed.

California-based Trevor Jacob was sentenced to six months in federal prison on Monday for allegedly lying to federal authorities when they were investigating an aeroplane he intentionally crashed to make a YouTube video, CNBC reported.

In April 2022 the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) had imposed an emergency order on 30 year old Trevor Jacob and revoked his pilot’s licence. It ruled he had deliberately parachuted out and filmed his own aeroplane crashing into California’s Los Padres national forest.

Crashed aeroplane

The FAA concluded that he intentionally crashed his plane for the sake of gaining online views.

The stunt began on 24 November 2021, when Trevor Jacob was flying over California’s Los Padres national forest in his small single-engine plane and 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.

Jacob filmed the whole incident and uploaded it to YouTube entitled ‘I Crashed My Plane‘, which is still up on the platform and has racked over 4 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.

He just happened to be wearing a parachute.

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.

Removed wreckage

Two days after the crash he informed the National Transportation Safety Board about the wreck.

The NTSB opened an investigation and notified Jacob that he was expected to preserve the plane wreckage and that the agency would need to see it, according to the plea agreement.

Jacob allegedly agreed to inform the NTSB of the location, but reportedly lied multiple times when investigators asked over the next two months.

On 10 December 2021, Jacob and a friend allegedly chartered a helicopter to take them to the crash site and bring the remains back to Santa Maria, California, where Jacob’s pickup truck awaited, after which Jacob cut up the plane and put it in the garbage in bits and pieces, CNBC reported.

Jacob is alleged to have filmed the YouTube video stunt to promote a wallet from a company that sponsored him, according to the plea agreement filed in the Central District of California.

He plead guilty to destruction and concealment of a tangible object with intent to obstruct a federal investigation back in June this year.

A video has since appeared on Jacob’s YouTube channel where he has claimed he got his pilot licence back.

Other cases

There is an unfortunate history of YouTube content creators doing dangerous pranks or stunts.

In 2017, a fatal stunt involved two YouTubers, when Monalisa Perez deliberately 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.

And in February 2021 a prank YouTube video resulted in another young man being shot to death.

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.

More recently YouTube prankster Tanner Cook was shot in the stomach in Dulles Town Center, a mall in northern Virginia.

Tanner Cook and his friends approached a man and stuck his phone about six inches from a man’s face, who asked him to stop and was backing away.

When Cook did not stop advancing, the man pulled out an handgun and shot him in the abdomen. Cook survived, and the shooter, Alan Colie, has been charged with aggravated malicious wounding and use of a firearm in the commission of a felony. He was found not guilty of the main charge by a jury.