Thirty-year-old YouTuber Trevor Jacob was sentenced to six months in federal prison on December 4 for obstructing a federal investigation after destroying the wreckage of his 1940 Taylorcraft BL-65 that he intentionally crashed for social media clout.
Court documents state that upon release, Jacob will be placed on supervised release for two years and pay a special assessment fee of $100.
Jacob, a skydiver and past Olympic athlete, had his pilot certificate revoked in April 2022, and agreed in June to plead guilty to one count of destruction and concealment with the intent to obstruct a federal investigation.
The FAA, which cited Jacob's "careless or reckless" actions when revoking his pilot certificate, confirmed that Jacob has been issued a new, temporary certificate.
The notorious incident took place November 24, 2021, when Jacob, equipped with a parachute and a selfie stick, took off in his camera-equipped Taylorcraft from Lompoc Airport on a solo flight that would take him to Mammoth Lakes. Jacob posted the video titled "I Crashed My Airplane" to YouTube on December 23, 2021. The video has since been deleted.
In his guilty plea, Jacob admitted that he never planned to reach his destination, and instead intended to fake an engine failure and record himself leaping from the aircraft and parachuting to safety while his vintage Taylorcraft descended and crashed—all to promote a wallet for a sponsorship he had secured prior to the flight.
Jacob also admitted to illegally transporting, destroying, and disposing of the aircraft wreckage before investigators could examine it.
In a sentencing memorandum, prosecutors argued, “It appears that [Jacob] exercised exceptionally poor judgment in committing this offense. [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.”
Jacob was ordered to report to prison January 29 to begin his sentence.