YouTuber Trevor Jacob Pleads Guilty to Obstructing Federal Investigation into Plane Crash

According to court documents, Trevor Jacob, a YouTuber, has consented to pleading guilty for hindering a federal inquiry regarding a plane crash in California in 2021. The Federal Aviation Administration has alleged that the pilot intentionally caused the accident.[0] The aviation YouTubers were initially skeptical of Jacob's video, as they observed that he had already unlocked the plane door before the engine allegedly malfunctioned.[1] In addition, Jacob's use of a skydiving parachute, which is not commonly worn by small aircraft pilots, raised suspicions among investigators. Furthermore, despite the availability of numerous safe landing spots in the vicinity, as indicated by satellite imagery, he did not appear to make an effort to locate them.[1]

Jacob documented the incident by uploading a video to YouTube after he had parachuted out of the plane before it crashed. At first, he informed the investigators that his aircraft had experienced a power failure and he was unaware of the location of the wreckage.[2] Aviation experts and federal authorities expressed skepticism about his story.[2] It was discovered subsequently that Jacob did not try to contact air traffic control, restart his engine, or seek out a secure landing location.[2] Upon reaching the national forest after 35 minutes of flight, Jacob began to use profanity repeatedly when the plane seemed to lose power, as seen in a video he uploaded on YouTube titled “I Crashed My Airplane.”[3] After that, he ejected and safely descended to the ground with a parachute while the aircraft crashed.[4]

Jacob admitted to the authorities that he wanted to make money from the video of the crash and had reached a sponsorship deal to promote a wallet on his channel.[5] The offense of destroying and hiding evidence with the purpose of impeding a federal investigation can result in a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.[6] According to court records, a plea agreement was filed on Wednesday.[7] Jacob's pilot's license was also revoked by the Federal Aviation Administration, which used Jacob's YouTube video as evidence against him, in April.

With 2.97 million views, the 12-minute video by the YouTuber depicts his departure from Lompoc City Airport and journey towards Mammoth Lakes.[1] Jacob, flying over a range of mountains, clutches a plastic bag that carries the remains of his friend and base jumper, Johnny Strange, who passed away in 2015.[1] He can also be seen discovering the remains of his aircraft in the video.[8] Jacob lost his pilot's license in April 2022, and a condition of probation is that he is prohibited from applying for another one. He will be meeting with probation in the coming days, and his sentencing is months off, said Ciaran McEvoy, spokesperson for the Los Angeles U.S. Attorney's Office.[9] It will be up to his judge to determine Jacob's sentence.[9]

In fact, on November 24, 2021, Jacob took off in his airplane from Lompoc City Airport on a solo flight purportedly destined for Mammoth Lakes.[10] 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. Two weeks after the crash, he and a friend flew by helicopter to the crash site and airlifted the wreckage to Rancho Sisquoc in Santa Barbara County, where it was loaded onto a trailer attached to Jacob's pickup truck.[10] “Jacob drove the wreckage to Lompoc City Airport and unloaded it in a hangar,” prosecutors said.[11] “He then cut up and destroyed the airplane wreckage and, over the course of a few days, deposited the detached parts of the wrecked airplane into trash bins at the airport and elsewhere.”[12]

Jacob's actions have drawn criticism from the aviation community, who have accused him of endangering lives and damaging the reputation of pilots and aviation enthusiasts. The FAA has emphasized that safety should be the top priority for all pilots, and that any actions or behavior that threaten the safety of others will not be tolerated. The case serves as a reminder of the importance of responsible behavior and adherence to safety regulations in the aviation industry.

0. “YouTuber Trevor Jacob admits to crashing plane for views” BBC, 12 May. 2023,

1. “YouTube influencer pilot admits he crashed plane to get views: DOJ” Insider, 12 May. 2023,

2. “YouTuber accused of deliberately crashing plane for views pleads guilty” The Guardian, 11 May. 2023,

3. “Crashing down to earth: YouTube pilot agrees to plead guilty to purposely crashing plane for advertising stunt” Morningstar, 11 May. 2023,

4. “YouTuber who crashed plane for views pleads guilty to obstructing feds” Courthouse News Service, 11 May. 2023,

5. “YouTuber agrees to plead guilty to federal charge after intentionally crashing his plane for online views, DOJ says …” KEYT, 12 May. 2023,

6. “YouTuber Trevor Jacob to plead guilty in federal plane crash case” KMAland, 11 May. 2023,

7. “YouTuber Trevor Jacob to plead guilty in federal plane crash case – Deltaplex News” Deltaplex News, 11 May. 2023,

8. “Central Coast YouTuber pleads guilty to crashing plane for views” Cal Coast News, 11 May. 2023,

9. “YouTuber Trevor Jacob Admits to Deceiving Feds About Crashing Plane on Purpose for Video” Santa Barbara Independent, 12 May. 2023,

10. “YouTube pilot who crashed plane pleads guilty to obstruction” San Luis Obispo Tribune, 12 May. 2023,

11. “Lompoc resident that deliberately crashed airplane for YouTube video pleads guilty to felony obstruction charge | News …” KEYT, 11 May. 2023,

12. “YouTuber Faces Up To 20 Years For Obstruction Of A Federal Investigation” AVweb, 11 May. 2023,