Two Taylorcraft planes fly over Minnesota. Trevor Jacob crashed a Taylorcraft B over the Los Padres National Forest in 2021.
Billy Robin McFarland/Getty Images
YouTuber Trevor Jacob has been sentenced to six months in prison, prosecutors said.Jacob intentionally crashed a small plane in California on 2021 for a YouTube video.On Monday, he said he’d acted on “bad legal advice” and has now re-obtained his pilot’s license.
A YouTuber pilot who admitted to crashing a small plane in California for online views and a sponsorship has been sentenced to six months in prison, prosecutors said on Monday.
Trevor Jacob, 30, admitted in June that he’d deliberately ejected from his single-propeller plane above the Los Padres National Forest and allowed it to crash so he could make a YouTube video.
The former Olympic snowboarder’s video, “I Crashed My Plane,” has been viewed over 4.4 million times.
Now, he’s been sentenced by California judge John F. Walter after pleading guilty in June to one count of destroying and concealing evidence with the intent to obstruct a federal investigation, said the US Attorney’s office for the Central District of California.
Jacob orchestrated the crash on November 24, 2021, setting off from the Lompoc City Airport toward Mammoth Lakes, per prosecutors.
However, Jacob didn’t intend to reach his destination, and instead parachuted from his airplane after pretending it lost power, prosecutors said.
He’d fitted his plane with multiple cameras, and recorded himself parachuting to the ground.
Two days later, Jacob informed the National Transportation Safety Board of the plane crash, and said he would help them locate the crashed plane, prosecutors said.
But on December 10, 2021, he flew by helicopter with a friend to transport the wreck to a trailer attached to Jacob’s pickup truck, then to a Lompoc City Airport hangar.
Jacob later disassembled the plane and dumped its parts into various trash bins at airport, which prosecutors said was done to obstruct a Federal Aviation Administration investigation into the crash.
Jacob published his video two weeks later, and was quickly subjected to intense scrutiny from other aviation YouTubers who questioned his choice of parachute, why he didn’t radio for help, and why he chose to jump immediately instead of attempting a landing.
When pleading guilty in June, Jacob said he’d agreed to advertise a sponsor’s product — a wallet — in his YouTube video, prosecutors said.
Jacob’s video features him hiking after the crash for several hours through the dry brush of the Los Padres forest hills, eventually coming across his wrecked plane. The video ends with him meeting an unidentified person whom he said was a rancher.
Trevor Jacob re-obtains his pilot’s license
After his sentencing, Jacob released another video on Monday evening titled “I Got My Pilots License Back! But I’m Going To Prison.”
His license had been revoked by the FAA in April 2022.
The Monday video appears to have been shot before Jacob’s sentencing, and features him cooking eggs, skateboarding, sparring in jiu-jitsu, flying a plane, and riding a dirt bike as he expressed regret for his actions, describing himself as an “idiot.”
Throughout the video, he wore a t-shirt advertising his sports apparel and merchandise brand.
The former athlete alleged he covered up evidence of the crash based on “really bad legal advice” and intentionally crashed the plane not for clout, but because it was a childhood dream of his.
“It was a bucket list goal, I always told myself that before I die, I will jump out of a plane and watch it crash into the ground, pull my parachute,” he said.
“I’m going to do it and I’ll share it with the world and see what happens,” he said. “And here we are. At the end of the day, you know, you live and learn.”
Jacob did not address why he had pretended the plane lost power in his 2021 video and his aircraft accident incident report.
Jacob released a statement sent to Business Insider through his attorney, where he called his experience “so humbling” and thanked his lawyer.
“I am grateful that Judge Walter considered many different aspects of my unique situation,” the statement said. “I believe he made the right decision in imposing this punishment. I am excited to continue my positive growth as a person through my six month term in prison.”