SANTA BARBARA COUNTY, Calif. (TCD) — A 29-year-old YouTuber faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison after pleading guilty this week to deliberately crashing his plane and recording the incident for views.
According to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California, on Nov. 24, 2021, Trevor Jacob, an experienced pilot and skydiver, embarked on a solo flight from Lompoc City Airport to Mammoth Lakes. During the flight, the Attorney’s Office said he intentionally ejected himself from the plane and recorded himself “parachuting to the ground and his airplane as it descended and crashed.”
Jacob reportedly set up multiple video cameras on different parts of the aircraft and was ready with a parachute, camera, and selfie stick. While flying over the Los Padres National Forest near Santa Maria, the Attorney’s Office said he exited the plane and recorded himself parachuting down. The plane then crashed into dry brush in Los Padres National Forest.
In the video, entitled “I Crashed My Airplane,” Jacob is seen walking to the crash sight and collecting the video recording of his flight.
According to the Attorney’s Office, Jacob alerted the National Transportation Safety Board about the plane crash on Nov. 26, 2021, and an investigation was launched. The Federal Aviation Administration reportedly launched a separate investigation around three days later.
The Attorney’s Office said, “Jacob lied to investigators that he did not know the wreckage’s location” even though he and a friend “flew by helicopter to the wreckage site” in December 2021. At the crash sight, Jacob reportedly used the helicopter to lift and carry the wreckage to Rancho Sisquoc in Santa Barbara County.
According to the Attorney’s Office, Jacob destroyed the airplane wreckage in a hangar at Lompoc City Airport with the “intent to obstruct federal authorities from investigating” the plane crash.
Jacob also submitted a false report and said the “aircraft experienced a full loss of power approximately 35 minutes after takeoff.” He reportedly “lied to an FAA aviation safety inspector when he said the airplane’s engine had quit and, because he could not identify any safe landing options, he had parachuted out of the plane.”
His pilot license was revoked in April 2022.
The Attorney’s Office announced Thursday, May 11, that Jacob pleaded guilty to one count of destruction and concealment with the intent to obstruct a federal investigation.
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