YouTuber Trevor Jacob facing prison over deliberate crashing of plane for views

US prosecutors said the influencer ‘did not intend to reach his destination’

YouTube on a computer screen
Video of the crash posted by Trevor Jacobs has gained millions of views on YouTube
(Image credit: Getty Images)

A Californian YouTuber who has admitted intentionally crashing a plane for views is to plead guilty to obstructing a federal investigation, prosecutors have announced.

Trevor Jacob posted a video of the plane crash to YouTube in December 2021 and “submitted an aircraft accident incident report that falsely indicated that the aircraft experienced a full loss of power” after take-off, said the US Attorney’s Office. The video “drew immediate scorn from commenters”, the Los Angeles Times reported, but has attracted around three million views to date.

Jacob, from Lompoc in the West Coast, is a “former US Olympic snowboarder-turned-social media star”, said The Independent, and “is also an experienced pilot and a skydiver”.

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.


Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up

On 24 November 2021, he left a Santa Barbara airport on a solo flight to California’s Mammoth Lake, taking a camera stick and with cameras mounted on his Taylorcraft BL-65.

Prosectors said that he “did not intend to reach his destination”, but rather “planned to eject from his aircraft during the flight and video himself parachuting to the ground” as his plane as “descended and crashed” in California’s Los Padres National Forest. He then hiked to the site to recover video footage and later returned by helicopter to remove and destroy the wreckage.

In a plea agreement filed in the US District Court in Los Angeles, the 29-year-old influencer said he filmed the video for a sponsorship deal. He faces up to 20 years in federal prison after agreeing to plead guilty to one felony count of destruction and concealment with the intent to obstruct a federal investigation.

The Attorney’s Office said Jacob was expected to make his initial court appearance in the coming weeks..

Continue reading for free

We hope you're enjoying The Week's refreshingly open-minded journalism.

Subscribed to The Week? Register your account with the same email as your subscription.