A US-based YouTuber who deliberately destroyed the wreckage of an airplane that he intentionally crashed to gain online views, has agreed to plead guilty and faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.
According to the Justice Department, Trevor Daniel Jacob, 29, of Lompoc, agreed to plead guilty to one count of destruction and concealment with the intent to obstruct a federal investigation, a crime that carries a statutory maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison.
On December 23, 2021, Jacob uploaded a YouTube video titled, ‘I Crashed My Airplane,’ that contained a promotion of the wallet and depicting him parachuting from the plane and the aircraft’s subsequent crash.
Jacob admitted in his plea agreement that he intended to make money through the video.
On November 24, 2021, Jacob took off in his airplane from Lompoc City Airport on a solo flight purportedly destined for Mammoth Lakes. Jacob did not intend to reach his destination, but instead planned to eject from his aircraft during the flight and video himself parachuting to the ground and his airplane as it descended and crashed, he admitted in the plea agreement.
Prior to taking off, Jacob mounted several video cameras on different parts of the airplane and equipped himself with a parachute, video camera and selfie stick.
Approximately 35 minutes after taking off, while flying above the Los Padres National Forest near Santa Maria, Jacob ejected from the airplane and videoed himself parachuting to the ground.
Using the video camera mounted on the selfie stick and the video cameras he mounted on the airplane, Jacob was able to record the airplane as it descended and crashed into a dry brush area in Los Padres National Forest.
After parachuting to the ground, Jacob hiked to the location of the wreck and recovered the data containing the video recording of his flight and the crash of the airplane, the plea agreement stated.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) launched investigations into the plane crash.
On December 10, 2021, Jacob and a friend flew by helicopter to the wreckage site. There, Jacob used straps to secure the wreckage, which the helicopter lifted and carried to Santa Barbara County.
Over the course of a few days, he deposited the detached parts of the wrecked airplane into trash bins at the airport and elsewhere, which he admitted in his plea agreement was done with the intent to obstruct federal authorities from investigating the November 24 plane crash.
The FAA revoked Jacob’s pilot license in April 2022.