Trevor Jacob, the California pilot and YouTuber who intentionally crashed a Taylorcraft for video views in 2021, will spend six months in a federal prison for the stunt. Jacob took a plea deal in the protracted case and pleaded guilty to one count of destruction and concealment with the intent to obstruct a federal investigation. That charge resulted from Jacob, 30, a former Olympian and YouTube pitchman for a wallet company, and one of his buddies hauling the wreckage of the T-craft out of the mountains north of Santa Barbara with a helicopter before Jacob cut it into small pieces for disposal in various trash bins. But the most damning evidence of the illegal flight was a video posted to YouTube in which he purported to jump from the plane (at 11,000 feet) because of an engine failure.
Commenters were quick to point out obvious flaws and inconsistencies in the story that were captured by numerous cameras on the plane and on the phone video he shot during his parachute descent to the flat and open valley below. The crash sequence was filmed in November of 2021 but Jacob didn’t post the edited version until Christmas Day. Not long after, the FAA came calling and in April of 2022 revoked his pilot certificate. The Department of Justice followed, and Jacob was charged with a list of felonies before the plea deal whittled it down to the single count of obstruction. “It appears that [Jacob] exercised exceptionally poor judgment in committing this offense,” prosecutors argued in a sentencing memorandum. “[Jacob] most likely committed this offense to generate social media and news coverage for himself and to obtain financial gain. Nevertheless, this type of ‘daredevil’ conduct cannot be tolerated.”