What are you willing to do for the sake of money and views?
Just last week, the former Olympic snowboarder slash pilot slash YouTuber, Trevor Jacob, who was reported to have crashed a plane to gain popularity and make more money, was found guilty of obstructing and impeding a federal investigation. He has confessed to deliberately destroying the plane as a publicity stint and lying to investigators multiple times.
Based on the report of the United States Department of Justice (DOJ), the crimes of destruction carry 20 years of imprisonment and a fine of about $250,000. Jacob filed a plea agreement, and as a result, the Los Angeles court may give him a lesser sentence.
The YouTuber revealed the scheme he did way back in 2021, when he deliberately crashed his plane, in a sponsored video for an anonymous wallet company that he agreed to promote. The video, which was entitled, “I Crashed My Airplane,” has garnered 4.2 million views as of this writing.
At the start of the video, the experienced pilot and skydiver can be seen flying over Los Padres National Forest in California. After more than a minute, he starts cursing out of panic when the plane’s propeller stops working. Jacob then jumps out of the plane and leaps with a parachute while the cameras show the plane crash footage.
“I’m just kind of taking in what happened,” Jacob uttered in the video.
“I’m scared. I’m in trouble,” he added.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has reported that Jacob repeatedly lied, not just to federal investigators but also to media outlets. He told officials that he couldn’t identify the crash location, but in reality, he asked for the help of his friend, who owns a helicopter, to help him recover the wreckage.
According to the report, on November 24, 2021, the YouTuber planned to eject from the airplane mid-flight and film himself parachuting while the plane crashed. After recording the crash, he recovered the video data and later informed the National Transportation Safety Board about the crash but lied about the wreckage’s location. On December 10, 2021, Jacob transported the wreckage to a hangar, where he destroyed it over several days to obstruct the investigation. He also deceived the investigators by saying that the plane’s engine had lost power.
Moreover, in an interview with The New York Times in 2022, Jacob denied the allegations and said that the crash was neither planned nor staged just for notoriety.
The FAA has revoked Jacob’s pilot license in 2022.
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