A YouTuber has come clean about crashing his airplane on purpose as he faces jail for obstructing a federal investigation by cleaning up the wreckage himself.
Trevor Jacob could face up to 20 years in prison after he agreed to plead guilty to one count of destruction and concealment with the intent to obstruct a federal investigation.
It stems from a video he posted in November 2021 entitled I Crashed My Airplane in which he apparently gets into trouble while flying over southern California and leaps from the single-engine plane while holding a selfie stick.
Viewers were immediately suspicious of the video, which has garnered over three million views, after Jacob was unusually wearing a parachute and took no action to restart the plane’s engine or attempt to glide the aircraft safely to the ground.
Jacob has now admitted that he orchestrated the crash as part of a sponsorship deal to promote a company’s product and he never intended to complete the flight on November 24, 2021.
Jacob is an experienced pilot and skydiver, but the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) revoked his license in April 2022 after it deemed that the YouTuber crashed his plane on purpose.
It came after Jacob was ordered to preserve the wreckage by the FAA. Initially, he told officials he did not know where the plane had crashed but two weeks after the incident he and a friend winched the wreckage out of Los Padres National Forest.
In the following days, Jacob cut the aircraft into small pieces and dumped them into trash bins in and around Lompoc City Airport.
“Jacob further admitted he lied to federal investigators when he submitted an aircraft accident incident report that falsely indicated that the aircraft experienced a full loss of power approximately 35 minutes after takeoff,’ a statement from the Department of Justice reads.
“Jacob also lied to an FAA aviation safety inspector when he said the airplane’s engine had quit and, because he could not identify any safe landing options, he had parachuted out of the plane.”
The YouTuber is expected to formally enter a guilty plea in Los Angeles in the coming weeks and will be sentenced at a later date.