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Dangerous self-dramatization: To push his YouTube channel, Trevor Jacob crashed a plane


Trevor Jacob / YouTube

YouTuber Trevor Jacob has been sentenced to six months in prison by a district court in California. The judge in charge of the case considered it proven that he had obstructed the investigation into his fake plane crash by "deliberately destroying the wreckage". The fact that Jacob had faked the crash of the plane in order to generate as many clicks as possible on YouTube with a video of the alleged accident does not seem to have played a role in the verdict.

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) had already revoked Jacob's private pilot's license a year and a half ago. It had concluded that the YouTuber had violated U.S. aviation regulations and had piloted the single-engine plane in a "careless or reckless manner that endangered the life or property of another."

Crash filmed with multiple cameras

The young man had caused a stir in the winter of 2021 with a video that showed him parachuting himself out of his seemingly powerless plane and filming how the driverless plane crashed to the ground in California's Los Padres National Park. To date, the clip has been viewed a good 4.4 million times. Observers had soon criticized the fact that the young pilot had not made any attempt to land the plane in gliding flight at the time.

The FAA had also criticized Jacob for his unusual behavior at the time. He did not try to contact air traffic control or get the engine going again. She also wrote to him that there had been "several areas within gliding range where you could have landed safely." The fact that Jacob was already sitting in the cockpit with his parachute on had also caused skepticism about his description.

Into the bin

In fact, Trevor Jacob later admitted to obstructing the investigation by destroying the wreckage of the plane, which he deliberately crashed "to get online views." While he had told the authorities that he did not know where the plane had landed, he had recovered the wreckage with a helicopter together with a friend. He then dismantled it in a hangar and then put the individual parts into garbage cans at the airport and its surroundings over several days. In this way, he wanted to prevent the cause of the crash from being investigated.

He also admitted that he had never intended to reach his supposed destination. Instead, the plan was to film the crash and himself jumping. He wanted to make money with the video.

Jacob had "shown exceptionally poor judgment in this crime," according to a press release from the public prosecutor's office. In addition, he "most likely committed this crime in order to promote himself on social media and in the news and to obtain financial gain." This "kind of 'foolhardy' behavior" could not be tolerated.