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

According to court documents, Trevor Jacob, a YouTuber, has consented to confess to impeding a federal inquiry into a plane crash that occurred in California in 2021, which the Federal Aviation Administration has alleged was intentionally caused by the pilot.[0] After Jacob parachuted out of the crashing plane, he shared a video on YouTube that documented the entire incident. At first, he informed the investigators that his aircraft experienced a power outage and he was unaware of the location of the crash.[1] However, aviation experts and federal authorities were skeptical of his account.[1]

They later found that Jacob made no attempt to call air traffic control, restart his engine, or search for a safe place to land.[1] Other aviation YouTubers were doubtful of Jacob's video as he had unlocked the plane door prior to the alleged engine failure.[2] In addition, they found it questionable that Jacob was utilizing a skydiving parachute during his flight, as it is not customary for pilots of smaller planes. Moreover, despite the existence of numerous suitable landing locations in the vicinity according to satellite imagery, he did not appear to make an effort to locate a secure spot.[2]

About 35 minutes into the flight, as he flew over the national forest, Jacob began to swear non-stop. In a video he uploaded to YouTube later on, titled “I Crashed My Airplane.” it was evident that the plane seemed to be stalling out.[3] After that, he ejected and successfully deployed his parachute before the plane crashed down on the ground.[3] Jacob hiked to the wreckage after landing via parachute, where he retrieved video recordings of his flight and the airplane's subsequent crash.

Jacob admitted in his plea agreement that he intended to make money through the video, which has over 2.9 million views to date.[2] His pilot’s license was also revoked by the Federal Aviation Administration, which used Jacob’s YouTube video as evidence against him, in April.

Prosecutors say Jacob drove the wreckage to Lompoc City Airport and unloaded it in a hangar.[4] Afterwards, he proceeded to dismantle and demolish the remains of the aircraft. Within the span of a few days, he discarded the separated fragments of the ruined plane into garbage receptacles situated at both the airport and other locations. He acknowledged in his plea agreement that his actions were deliberately executed to impede federal authorities from scrutinizing the aviation disaster.[5]

The offense of destroying and hiding evidence with the purpose of obstructing a federal investigation is punishable by a maximum imprisonment of 20 years.[6] According to court records, a plea agreement was submitted on Wednesday.[7] In a few weeks, Jacob is anticipated to have his first court hearing.[7]

Jacob departed from Lompoc City Airport on November 24, 2021, embarking on a solo flight with the supposed destination of Mammoth Lakes in his airplane.[4] 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.

Jacob informed the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) about the plane crash on November 26, 2021.[8] The NTSB launched an investigation into the crash on or about that same day, told Jacob that he was responsible for preserving the wreckage so the agency could examine it.[8] Jacob consented to identifying the location of the collision and furnishing the NTSB investigators with the plane's coordinates and crash footage.[8]

Jacob and a friend took a helicopter ride to the site of the wreckage on December 10th, 2021.[8] Jacob fastened straps to the debris and the helicopter hoisted it up and transported it to Rancho Sisquoc in Santa Barbara County. Afterwards, it was transferred onto a trailer connected to Jacob's pickup truck.[4]

In April 2022, Jacob's pilot's license was revoked, and as a term of his probation, he is not allowed to seek a new one. According to Ciaran McEvoy, the spokesperson for the Los Angeles U.S. Attorney's Office, he has a meeting with probation scheduled in the near future, but his sentencing is still several months away.[9] The decision on Jacob's sentence will rest with his judge.[9]

During his probation or supervised release, Jacob will not be eligible to apply for a pilot's license upon his release from prison.[10]

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

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

2. “YouTube influencer pilot admits he crashed plane to get views: DOJ” Insider, 12 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. “Lompoc resident that deliberately crashed airplane for YouTube video pleads guilty to felony obstruction charge | News …” KEYT, 11 May. 2023,

5. “YouTuber Faces Up To 20 Years For Obstruction Of A Federal Investigation” AVweb, 11 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. “YouTube pilot who crashed plane pleads guilty to obstruction” San Luis Obispo Tribune, 12 May. 2023,

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

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

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