A YouTuber and former Olympic snowboarder has been accused of crashing his plane on purpose for clicks, and the FAA has opened an investigation to get to the bottom of the growing mess. The Drive reports: Trevor Jacob has been the subject of online criticism after posting a YouTube video where he parachuted from a Taylorcraft BL64 plane and filmed it crashing into the hills of the Los Padres National Forest near Cuyama, California. The video outlined his newly-purchased Taylorcraft’s final flight on Nov. 24, 2021, a trip from the Lompoc City Airport in Santa Barbara to Mammoth Lakes where he planned to partake in some general adventuring like paragliding and snowboarding. [If Nov. 24 rings a familiar bell in your head, that’s the same day that D.B. Cooper famously jumped from a hijacked plane with $200,000 in ransom 50 years prior.] Jacob also mentioned that he would be spreading the ashes of his friend Johnny Strange during the flight. Strange was killed in a wingsuit accident in 2015 and Jacob explains that he loved the Sierra Nevada Mountains.

During the flight, however, the Taylorcraft’s engine supposedly lost power, stalled, and could not be restarted. Jacob then points the plane nose-down and exits, sending the unoccupied aircraft into the ground. Jacob continued to film himself as he descended and proclaimed, “This is why I always fly with a parachute.” He then trekked back to the wreckage and hiked until a farmer, who he credits with saving his life, found him in the darkness. This is where things started to go south.

The video of the incident was posted to YouTube where it immediately began racking up views. The aviation sector of YouTube wasted no time picking apart Jacob’s claims. At the time of writing, the video has reached over one million views. It also amassed more than 5,000 comments, many of which called out the crash as being staged. Comments on the video have since been turned off, but that hasn’t stopped people from making reaction and explainer videos that point out abnormalities in the pilot’s videos. It’s worth noting here that some suspect the video currently on Jacob’s YouTube to be a trimmed-down version of what was originally uploaded. However, a few of the segments can be found when looking at other videos uploaded by YouTubers critiquing the pilot’s handling of the situation. […] “Whether or not Jacob will be prosecuted for the crash, or if he will have his pilot’s license revoked, will take some time to play out,” concludes Rob Stumpf via The Drive. “The FAA is notoriously thorough in investigating matters like these and often takes a year or longer to produce a final report and recommendation. But most importantly, if the FAA does decide he’s guilty, it must prove that Jacob showed intent to break the law and federal aviation regulations.”

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