YouTuber who staged small plane crash to plead guilty to obstructing investigation

YouTuber who staged small plane crash to plead guilty to obstructing investigation

A YouTuber who posted a video of himself crashing a small plane in California in November 2021 has agreed to plead guilty to a felony charge.

Trevor Daniel Jacob, a 29-year-old “YouTuber pilot” from Lompoc, California, has agreed to plead guilty to one count of destruction and concealment with the intent to obstruct a federal investigation, which is punishable by up to 20 years in prison, the US Justice Department has said.

On November 24, 2021, Jacob took off from an airport in Lompoc on a solo flight in a Taylorcraft BL-65 purportedly destined for Mammoth Lakes, California.

However, after flying for 35 minutes Jacob jumped out of the plane while flying over a forest and filmed himself parachuting to the ground as well as his aircraft crashing.

After landing, Jacob retrieved data from the plane which appeared to show it descending to the ground and subsequently recovered the wreckage, which he then destroyed, according to the Justice Department.

Jacob, an experienced pilot, skydiver and former Olympic snowboarder, posted a YouTube video a month after the crash.

According to court documents, Jacob has now admitted that he intentionally crashed the plane. Prior to the flight he had mounted several video cameras on different parts of the plane and wore a parachute, which is highly unusual for the pilot of a small plane.

He initially agreed to help determine the crash location and provide coordinates of the downed plane and videos of the crash to National Transportation Safety Board investigators, but then told them he did not know the wreckage’s location, according to the plea deal.

The US attorney’s office said in a statement that Jacob is expected to make a court appearance in coming weeks.