It was all part of a PR ploy by the Federal Aviation Administration last year when a daring YouTuber ditched his jet in mid-flight and parachuted to safety.
Before his jet crashed in the Los Padres National Forest in California on Nov. 24, YouTuber Trevor Jacob posted a video of what he said was a death-defying parachute jump from his plane.
For operating the single-engine aircraft in a “careless or reckless way so as to risk the life or property of another,” Jacob was barred from flying on April 11 by the FAA, according to a letter acquired by The New York Times. He was also fined $2,500.
“You demonstrated a lack of care, judgment, and responsibility by choosing to jump out of an aircraft solely so you could record the footage of the crash,” the agency said. “Your egregious and intentional actions on these dates indicate that you presently lack the degree of care, judgment, and responsibility required of a certificate holder.”
In a video update to his over 134,000 followers, Jacob, a former Olympic snowboarder, stated he would not address the matter “per my attorney.”
He has not published a video since the aircraft accident footage. “But the truth of that situation will come out with time,” he added, “and I’ll leave that at that.”
When Jacob’s engine fails, he seems to panic in the original video, which was posted on YouTube on Dec. 24. “Holy s–t. I’m over the mountains and I have an engine out,” he says in a 13-minute video “I Crashed My Plane,” with over 2 million views.
As the jet flies over the mountainous scenery, you can see Jacob unlock his door and look out the window.
Footage from the plane’s wing shows him suddenly leaping from the aircraft. It opens by moving to Jacob recording himself with a selfie stick in fast free fall, and then back to the aircraft as it begins to deviate off course and smash into the ground.
The footage shows YouTuber Jacob Trevor slamming onto the ground in the forest, landing among some bushes. According to the video, Jacob documented several minor injuries on his fingers and elbows around 20 minutes after the impact.
“I’m just so happy to be alive. I’m just kind of taking in what happened,” he says. “That’s why I always freaking fly with a parachute.”
As you’ll see later in the movie, this aircraft looks to be destroyed beyond repair. The film shows that Jacob was lost for six hours before he was recovered by a local farmer, as depicted in the book.
After he shared the video, fans and aviation professionals alike questioned the authenticity of the disaster, causing Jacob to turn off comments on the video. His failure to notify air traffic control, restart the engine, or find a safe spot to land was alleged by the FAA in a letter.
In addition, according to the NTSB, Jacob “collected and then disposed of the debris” after the accident. The FAA only has the right to cancel Jacob’s private pilot license, according to The Times. If he refuses to return the money, he might be fined $1,644 every day.