A YouTuber who deliberately crashed his aircraft to then publish the video on the platform and increase views could risk up to twenty years in prison.
Trevor Jacob, 29-year-old professional rider and snowboarder – competed for the United States at the 2014 Winter Olympics – declared himself guilty of trying to obstruct the federal investigation at his expense.
In November of 2021 Jacob took off in a small single-engine plane equipped with cameras from Lompoc Airport in Southern California. After 35 minutes of flight he parachuted, still filming himself with a video camera, in the Los Padres National Forest, before the crash of the aircraft. Once he hit the ground, he went to the scene of the accident and retrieved the video, which was then posted on Youtube.
Video I Crashed My Airplane reached approx three million views, but it aroused suspicions. Jacob did not attempt to call air traffic control, nor did he try to restart the engine or look for a safe place to land.
He initially told investigators his plane had lost power and he didn’t know where the wreckage was. It was later discovered that a few weeks after the crash he and a friend went on the place of the accident. The two towed the crashed plane to Santa Barbara County, where it was hangared and then hacked up and dumped in trash cans to derail the ongoing investigation.
The following April, his pilot license was revoked by the Federal Aviation Administration.
Jacob admitted that he wanted to hinder the investigation by disposing of the wreck – a crime that carries up to 20 years in prison – and that he made the video to earn money as part of a partnership with a company. He also admitted that he lied when he told investigators that the plane had a technical problem. A stunt that could cost him dearly.
Los Padres National Forest in California