In January 2022, former Olympic Snowboarder Trevor Jacob was making a vlog of his trip to the Sierra Nevada Mountain range. He subsequently uploaded a video to YouTube titled “I Crashed My Plane.” Controversy was sparked across the internet about whether the plane crash was for real or just a publicity stunt. The Federal Aviation Administration recently ruled that Jacob purposely abandoned his plane and allowed it to crash into the Los Padres National Forest in Southern California, reports the NY Times.
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The FAA said he had violated federal aviation regulations and operated his single-engine plane in a “careless or reckless manner so as to endanger the life or property of another,” and it would be revoking Jacob’s private pilot certificate, ending his permission to operate any aircraft. The FAA does not have the authority to prosecute but has threatened “further legal enforcement action” if Jacobs does not surrender his certificate. He will be charged $1,644 for each day he fails to comply.
“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. Your egregious and intentional actions on these dates indicate that you presently lack the degree of care, judgment, and responsibility required of a certificate holder.”
– FAA Statement obtained by the NY Times
In the video, which has had more than 1.7-million views, Jacob was flying his plane when the engine cut out. That left him with a couple of options, try to land the plane safely or jump out and parachute to safety. He decides to go with the second option. The video and the events caused the public to start asking if this stunt was staged for more views on the video and his channel.
Within the vlog, a few things make the public question whether it was necessary or not to crash his plane in the fashion he did. You can see three different GoPros on his plane in the video, one facing him and two facing his door. He claims to have had an engine failure during his flight, and you can see the propeller stop moving on the plane. At this point, he’s over the mountain range, which does not give him a good place to do an emergency landing. He then decides to jump out of the plane with a GoPro in his hand. As he is falling, you can see the plane and him descending. Luckily, he had his parachute on and was able to land safely and find the crashed plane. But then he was left to navigate down a mountainside and try to find some help. Luckily, after hiking, he stumbles upon a farm and gets some help.
Another thing to consider is that his most viewed video stirred up the public. This video is titled “My Best friend Died BASE Jumping.” His friend, Johnny Strange, passed away at the age of 23 while doing Base Jumping. Within the video, he has his friend, who was with Johnny during the accident, recall what had happened. He also included the footage of those two while doing the jump. The public appears to be questioning Jacob’s motive for creating a vlog of his friend’s tragic event, which the video to date has about 2.8 million views.
With this and the events in “I Crashed My Plane,” the public was leaning towards believing that it was done to raise views and it seems the FAA agree.