YouTuber Trevor Jacob Sentenced After Deliberately Crashing a Plane for Cloutthedigitalchaps


A YouTuber was sentenced to six months in federal prison Monday after he filmed himself intentionally crashing a plane and then lied to investigators about it and even tried to secretly dispose of the wreckage.

Trevor Jacob, 30, had pleaded guilty in June to a count of destruction and concealment with the intent to obstruct a federal investigation over the crash two years ago, California prosecutors said in a news release. The former Olympic snowboarder initially told authorities the incident was an accident but later admitted that he deliberately staged the crash to make a video titled “I Crashed My Airplane” and promote a sponsorship deal with a wallet company.

The YouTube video, which racked up millions of views after it was uploaded in December 2021, showed Jacob pretending to lose power during the flight before jumping out of the plane—selfie stick in hand—and filming himself parachuting to the ground.

Some viewers were immediately suspicious about the clip, raising questions about why he was wearing a parachute at all on a purportedly routine flight, or why he made no effort to glide the aircraft to a safe landing area, or why he filmed himself as he jumped out of the plane.

Prosecutors say that when Jacob took off from Lompoc City Airport on Nov. 24, 2021, he “did not intend to reach his destination,” supposedly in Mammoth Lakes, but instead planned to crash the plane all along.

After parachuting to the ground, Jacob hiked to the site of where the plane had crashed in a dry brush area in Los Padres National Forest, prosecutors said. There, he collected video footage recorded by cameras mounted on the aircraft.

Two days later he informed the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) of the crash, and it launched an investigation, with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) opening its own investigation into the incident soon after. In the following weeks, Jacob lied to investigators, telling them he didn’t know where the wreckage was located.

On Dec. 10, 2021, Jacob and a friend even flew to the crash site by helicopter. They then used the chopper to fly the wreck away, prosecutors said, with Jacob ultimately taking what was left of the plane back to a hangar at Lompoc City Airport. Over several days, he cut up the wreckage and put it in several trash bins around the airport “with the intent to obstruct federal authorities” from investigating the crash, prosecutors said.

With the wreckage gone, he then uploaded his YouTube video of the stunt on Dec. 23, 2021.

In a sentencing memorandum, prosecutors said Jacob “exercised exceptionally poor judgment in committing this offense,” which he had most likely committed “to generate social media and news coverage for himself and to obtain financial gain.” “Nevertheless, this type of ‘daredevil’ conduct cannot be tolerated,” the memorandum added.

Attorneys for Jacob asked for probation instead of prison time, arguing he had been “living alone in his hanger” at the height of the COVID pandemic and had made a “series of bad choices that culminated in the offense to which he has plead guilty,” according to CNN. He also wrote a letter to the judge saying he was “sincerely sorry” and had “suffered a lot of consequences from this offense,” adding that he “carefully researched the plane route to make sure the crash would not be near human housing or trail routes.”