Popular YouTuber Trevor Jacob has admitted to intentionally crashing his single-engine airplane in a California national forest to gain views for a sponsorship deal, resulting in potentially serious legal trouble.
NBC News reports that 29-year-old YouTuber Trevor Jacob has confessed to purposely causing the crash of his own airplane in a calculated attempt to boost viewership on his channel and secure a lucrative sponsorship agreement. Jacob’s admission came as part of a plea agreement filed in federal court in Los Angeles, where he pleaded guilty to the charge of destruction and concealment with the intent to obstruct a federal investigation. This offense carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.
The video at the center of the controversy, titled “I Crashed My Airplane,” was uploaded by Jacob on December 23, 2021, and has attracted significant attention, accumulating nearly 3.1 million views at the latest count. The footage captures Jacob, described as an experienced pilot and skydiver, taking off from Lompoc City Airport in a Taylorcraft BL-65 approximately one month prior to its release.
Approximately one minute into the video, while flying over the picturesque landscape of Los Padres National Forest, a camera mounted on the aircraft captures a purported malfunction of the propeller. The footage shows Jacob hastily exiting the plane and deploying a parachute mere moments before the aircraft crashes into the mountains below.
Initially, Jacob vehemently denied any deliberate crash, stating to the New York Times shortly after the incident, “I’ll happily say I did not purposely crash my plane for views on YouTube.” However, the plea agreement reveals an alternative motive behind the crash.
As per the agreement, Jacob had planned to exploit the video for a sponsorship deal with an undisclosed wallet company. The video aimed to feature Jacob parachuting from the plane, followed by its dramatic descent and crash, subtly promoting the wallet brand.
Further details from the plea agreement shed light on Jacob’s subsequent attempts to cover up his actions. In an email exchange with an FAA investigator approximately one month after the crash, Jacob intentionally misled authorities by claiming ignorance regarding the wreckage’s whereabouts. In reality, he had enlisted the services of a helicopter company based in Paso Robles, which removed the wreckage from the mountains and transported it to a trailer. The agreement specifies that Jacob then proceeded to dismantle the plane and discard the parts at the airplane hangar in Lompoc.
Jacob now faces a potential prison sentence of up to 20 years for destruction and concealment with the intent to obstruct a federal investigation. Neither Jacob nor his lawyer, Keri Axel, provided any comments in response to requests for statements.