People will go to great lengths for online clout, but it isn’t every day an influencer purposefully abandons and crashes their plane as a publicity stunt.
In a nearly 13-minute YouTube video posted in December 2021 titled I Crashed My Plane — which has been viewed 1.9 million times — Trevor Jacob parachutes out of a small plane flying over Los Padres National Forest in California.
While recording the entire ordeal, Jacob claimed the small 1940 Taylorcraft plane experienced engine troubles, causing him to abandon it mid-flight. With a parachute on, Jacob jumped from the side door, leaving the plane without a pilot.
Upon landing in a thorny bush, Jacob spoke into the camera, saying that he is “just so happy to be alive.” He continued to document his hike through the forest, including finding the destroyed remains of his crashed plane.
The incident occurred in November 2021.
Almost instantly after the video was shared online, fans, media and aviation experts began to question the stunt’s legitimacy.
On April 11, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) sent Jacob a letter that said he had violated federal aviation regulations by operating his single-engine plane in a “careless or reckless manner so as to endanger the life or property of another.”
The FAA claims Jacob purposefully abandoned the plane. As such, Jacob’s private pilot certificate, or licence, has been revoked.
The FAA listed several reasons why Jacob’s video and plane crash may have been a stunt.
“During this flight, you opened the left side pilot door before you claimed the engine had failed,” the FAA wrote.
The letter also noted Jacob was already wearing his parachute before the engine troubles began. The FAA says Jacob made no attempt to contact air traffic control.
It also alleges the YouTuber did not restart the engine and failed to look for a place to safely land, “even though there were multiple areas within gliding range in which you could have made a safe landing.”
“On November 24, 2021, you demonstrated a lack of care, judgment, and responsibility by choosing to jump out of an aircraft solely so you could record the footage of the crash,” the FAA’s order of licence revocation letter reads.
In a video posted to Jacob’s YouTube channel last week, Jacob briefly addressed the situation, saying, “I can’t talk about it, per my attorney.”
Jacob is a former Team USA Olympic snowboarder and now a YouTube influencer. His channel, where he regularly posts shocking physical stunts, has more than 130,000 subscribers.
He competed in snowboarding at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, placing ninth in men’s snowboard cross.
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