YouTuber Faces Up to 20 Years in Jail for Staging Plane Crash for Views

Pilot Trevor Jacob, who staged an aircraft accident to increase views on his YouTube channel, may spend up to 20 years behind bars. I Crashed My Airplane was a video that approximately three million people saw after the event in November 2021 over southern California and was caught on tape. Jacob is seen jumping out of the plane as it crashes into the Los Padres National Forest in the footage.

Jacob, 29, recorded himself going through the thick foliage and over hills as he searched for civilization. Before finally stopping to scrape water from a stream, he informed his audience about his thirst and loss. Then, as darkness falls, he finds a car and what appears to be his rescue. Investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration started looking into the disaster in the weeks that followed the occurrence. Jacob was told to keep the wreck.

However, a plea agreement filed in Los Angeles claims that Jacob and a buddy used a helicopter two weeks after the event to lift what was left out of the forest. Once the jet had been disassembled, the fragments were thrown into dumpsters near Lompoc City Airport. He acknowledged that when he disposed of the pieces, he did so to obstruct federal officials. He also said he made the video to profit from a deal to sponsor a wallet manufacturer.

Jacob consented to plead guilty to one count of damage and concealment to hinder a federal inquiry, and his pilot’s license was terminated in April 2022. The maximum penalty for this offense is 20 years in federal prison. Additionally, he acknowledged lying to investigators about the aircraft losing power 35 minutes after takeoff and to an FAA inspector for aviation safety about the plane’s engine failing. He had jumped from the aircraft using a parachute. He is anticipated to officially submit his plea in Los Angeles in the following weeks and then be sentenced afterward.

Jacob’s video received harsh criticism from pilots and aviation professionals who noted that he should have restarted the engine and could have glided the aircraft to a safe landing site. Another exceedingly rare scenario was piloting a tiny plane while wearing a parachute.


As seen by the example of YouTuber pilot Trevor Jacob, a hunger for views and clicks may lead individuals to engage in risky and unlawful behavior. Even though his video had millions of views, it eventually led to revoking his pilot’s license and the potential for a significant jail term. This tragedy should serve as a warning that our actions have repercussions and that pursuing fame and money shouldn’t ever come at the price of the safety and well-being of others.

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