A former Olympic snowboarder who was accused of purposely crashing his plane in a YouTube video admitted to doing so in order to increase his viewership to get a sponsorship deal.
Trevor Jacob, 29, made the admission as part of a plea agreement in relation to a charge of destruction and concealment with the intent to obstruct a federal investigation, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, according to a U.S. attorney's office for Central California news release obtained by NBC News on Thursday (May 11). In December 2022, the FAA confirmed it opened an investigation into a video in which Jacob parachuted from a crashed Taylorcraft BL64 plane in the hills of Los Padres National Forrest near Cuyama, California, on November 24, in a statement obtained by AVWeb.com at the time.
In the video entitled 'I Crashed My Plane,' Jacob makes the trip from the Lompoc City Airport in Santa Barbara to Mammoth Lakes as part of his plan to paraglide, snowboard and spread the ashes of his friend Johnny Strange in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, an area Jacob said Strange loved prior to his 2015 death in a wingsuit accident.
However, the plane's engine supposedly lost power, stalled and failed to restart during the flight, which led to the former Olympic snowboarder pointing the plane nose-down and parachuting out of the unoccupied aircraft before it crashed into a field.
"This is why I always freaking fly with a parachute," Jacob said after landing on the ground.
The 'I Crashed My Plane' video -- which has more than 3.1 million views -- and caught the attention of the aviation sector of YouTube, with numerous critics accusing the incident of being staged in the comment section of the video, which had temporarily been turned off. Jacob represented the United States in the 2014 Winter Olympics, making it to the semi-final of the Men's snowboard cross, but finished behind teammate and eventual bronze medalist Alex Deibold during the qualifying round for the grand final.
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