A YouTuber who deliberately crashed his plane for internet clout has had his licence revoked following an investigation by the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
The investigation was launched into former Olympic snowboarder Trevor Jacob, who made headlines earlier this year with a video titled ‘I Crashed My Plane’.
In the video, which has been viewed more than 2.2 million times, he parachutes from a Taylorcraft BL64 plane, with cameras showing the aircraft crashing into the hills of the Los Padres National Forest in California.
Jacob had recently bought the single-engine plane, with plans to fly it from Santa Barbara to Mammoth Lakes.
However, his plans were thwarted when he claimed it lost power, stalled and could not be restarted mid-flight, leaving him with no choice but to abandon the aircraft and parachute to safety.
He filmed his exit from the plane, saying 'this is why I always fly with a parachute', and then trekked back to the wreckage before being found by a farmer who he said saved his life.
But the story didn’t end there - far from it. When the video started blowing up online, aviation experts immediately began picking the story apart, with the majority of the comments calling him out for staging the crash.
One question surrounded his claim that he ‘always wears a parachute’, as the YouTuber has previously shared videos of him flying without one.
Others turned their attention to the fact that Jacob had set up numerous cameras on the outside of the plane, including one that was positioned to film the propeller.
Following the allegations, the FAA launched an investigation, and has since concluded that Jacob staged the crash in order to gain views.
As punishment, they’ve revoked his flying licence, and he’s not allowed to reapply for one year.
In a letter to Jacob dated 11 April, the FAA detailed the various pieces of evidence that led to their conclusion, including the cameras set up outside the plane.
Additionally, they noted that Jacob was put on a sport parachute backpack before the flight, he'd opened the left side pilot door before he claimed the engine failed and he'd made no attempt to contact Air Traffic Control before jumping.
The agency went on to highlight Jacob’s failure to find safe areas to land even though ‘there were multiple within gliding range’, not to mention the fact that he disposed of the wreckage and used a ‘selfie stick’ to film himself during his descent.
Jacob now must surrender his pilot certificates immediately, otherwise he ‘will be subject to further legal enforcement action, including a civil penalty of up to $1,644.00’ for each day he fails to do so.
In a video shared on Saturday, 23 April, Jacob responded to the letter, stating: “I didn’t think that just posting a video of an adventure gone south would ruffle so many feathers.”
While travelling to the post office to send off his licence, he added: “The aviation community has been pretty tough on me, so I’m thinking about quitting altogether and giving up, just because I’m hated.”