In the early stages of YouTube, influencers like David Dobrik were frequently staging pranks or dangerous hijinks to please an ever-growing follower count. In a recent example, YouTuber and former U.S. Olympian Trevor Jacob made headlines in 2021 after parachuting out of his plane in an apparent malfunction. However, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has now accused Trevor of crashing his plane on purpose, contrary to his explanation.
Did Trevor crash his plane on purpose? Here's everything we know about the situation.
Did YouTuber Trevor Jacob crash his plane on purpose? The FAA thinks so.
Trevor Jacob is a former U.S. Olympic athlete who competed in snowboarding at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. In addition to snowboarding, Trevor is an avid extreme sports athlete. His Team USA bio notes in the "Fun Facts" section that Trevor "is also an accomplished skateboarder, surfer, motocross rider, BMX biker, snowmobiler and professional madman with MTV's Nitro Circus."
With so much risky business under his belt, Trevor shocked viewers in December 2021 when he posted a 13-minute video titled "I Crashed My Plane." In the video, Trevor can be seen parachuting out of a one-man aircraft, which he claims suffered from an engine malfunction.
Per The New York Times, Trevor was reportedly in the plane to spread the ashes of his friend Johnny Strange, who died in 2015 while BASE jumping. During the video, the propeller stops spinning, prompting Trevor to jump out of the plane with a parachute. He flew over Los Padres National Forest and documented his descent, as well as the following six-hour hike back, with a selfie stick.
"I’m just so happy to be alive," he says in the video.
On April 11, 2022, the FAA wrote in a letter (obtained by The New York Times) that Trevor had violated federal regulations for a single-engine plane in a “careless or reckless manner so as to endanger the life or property of another." The Times also reported that the FAA said it was revoking Trevor's private pilot certificate.
However, when asked by The New York Times to elaborate on the FAA ruling, Trevor seemed to be unaware of the letter, responding via email on April 20, "Where’d you get that information?"
He did briefly address the airplane crash in a video posted to his channel earlier in on April 15, saying, "I can’t talk about it, per my attorney.” He added: “But the truth of that situation will come out with time, and I’ll leave that at that.”
As the Times notes, If Trevor does not give up his certificate, he could face fines of up to $1,644 per day for every day he does not turn over his license.
The FAA also detailed the reasons it believes Trevor's crash was deliberate in the letter it sent him.
Per The New York Times, the letter reads, "During this flight, you opened the left side pilot door before you claimed the engine had failed." The agency also notes Trevor did not even attempt to contact air traffic control or restart the engine, and failed to look for a place to safely land.
"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 said. “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."