The Federal Aviation Administration has accused a popular YouTuber of purposely planning to crash his plane in the Los Padres National Forest last year in order to post the heart-stopping video on the internet.
Now the agency has revoked 28-year-old former Olympic snowboarder Trevor Jacob’s private pilot license.
In an April 11 letter obtained by the New York Times, the FAA said Jacob violated federal aviation regulations by operating the aircraft in a “careless or reckless manner so as to endanger the life or property of another” and determined that he was no longer fit to be a certificate holder.
“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 agency’s emergency order of revocation letter added, according to NBC News.
Jacob posted the 13-minute video in question to his YouTube channel on Dec. 23. It is appropriately titled, “I Crashed My Plane.”
In the video, Jacob is seen taking off solo in his Taylorcraft BL-65 single-engine plane from Lompoc in Santa Barbara County before allegedly encountering unexpected engine trouble over the Los Padres National Forest in Southern California.
I Crashed My Plane
Several cameras were affixed on different parts of the aircraft to record video of the flight. At one point, multiple camera angles showed the plane’s propeller stop spinning and captured Jacob making several expletive-filled outbursts.
Evidently determining that the plane was going to crash, Jacob opened the plane door and jumped out with a parachute already strapped onto his body and a selfie-stick in hand. He ended up descending into the middle of the thicketed mountain range while cameras continue to record the plane’s crash landing.
“I’m just so happy to be alive,” he stated after landing among trees and prickly brush. Undeterred, he then documented his six-hour hike through the forest until being found by a local farmer.
Jacob’s video, which boasts nearly 2 million views on YouTube, immediately sparked backlash online as viewers and aviation experts questioned its authenticity. Several commenters wondered why Jacob wore a parachute in the first place, as well as why he opened the plane’s door before claiming the engine had failed. The FAA agreed with many of the criticisms in its letter.
The barrage of negative reactions to the video resulted in Jacob eventually disabling comments on it.
According to the Times, the FAA confirmed in the letter that Jacob made no attempt to contact air traffic control prior to exiting the plane, didn’t try to restart the engine, and didn’t bother looking for a safe place to land. The agency called his actions “egregious and intentional.”
In another video posted last week, Jacob responded to the FAA letter by saying, “I can’t talk about it, per my attorney.”
“But the truth of that situation will come out with time,” he insisted, adding, “I’ll leave that at that.”