back to article YouTuber who crashed plane for sponsorship dollars earns 6 months behind bars

Of all the idiotic things people have done for views on YouTube, few are so reckless as deliberately crashing an airplane. Now, instead of sponsorship cash, Trevor Jacob has earned six months in prison for the stunt. Professional snowboarder Jacob represented the US at the 2014 Winter Olympics. He also built a presence on the …

  1. Ideasource Bronze badge

    federal prison is generally nicer than county jail.

    Much like getting sent to summer camp requires you to prostrate yourself before camp counselors through ritualistic obedience exercises even though they are strangers.

    The kids get through it. With a positive attitude some even enjoy it.

    So can this guy.

    Welcome to sleeping in, not having to prepare your own meals, a complete break from stress of responsibility, and plenty of time to read and think about the mysteries of life and organized recreational sessions

    when you think about it it's not much different than living in a retirement community.

    He's going to be just fine.

    Although the lack of freedom can be aggravating, life outside prison isn't so free either . Situational logistics form chains as strong or stronger than physical iron. Freedom was always an abstract concept.

    In a frame of existence ruled by causality and consequence there is no such thing as true freedom.

    Whatever the nature of the experience of freedom, it surely is a psychological construct, and so not absolutely tied to physical circumstance to attain.

    1. volsano

      He'll have a fine time - unless they classify him as a flight risk :)

      1. Vometia has insomnia. Again. Silver badge
    2. jgarbo


      And when this fool gets out he'll have a prison record, nice to show employers...

      1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

        Re: employers

        youtube watchers: may lose some but gain others. wallet sellers: ditto.

      2. Spazturtle Silver badge

        Re: Freedom..

        The sentence is less than a year so he won't go to prison or get classified as a felon, he will spend the 6 months in a low security federal camp.

      3. Ideasource Bronze badge

        Re: Freedom..

        For someone used to operating as an independent contractor, I don't think employment will ever suit him anyway.

        He already knows how to walk on his own.

        I don't think after tasting the autonomy of being in charge of his own life he would ever go back to being a disembodied hand of an employer again.

        He will just find something else he knows how to do and there's his experience to market directly and thus keep all the efforts of his work.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    confessing that the scheme was cooked up to earn commissions from a wallet manufacturer that sponsored the video.

    But is not apparently in the dock....

    1. cyberdemon Silver badge

      Social Media 'Effluencers'

      Definitely my #1 choice for Room 101

      (link for the benefit of our left-pondian friends)

      Selling wallets while crashing an aeroplane.. The Desperate Marketing economy deserves a Darwin award.

  3. Clausewitz4.0 Bronze badge
    Black Helicopters


    few are so reckless as deliberately crashing an airplane

    Are we talking about USA 3-letter Intel agencies?

  4. DS999 Silver badge

    A better sentence

    Would have been a 10 year ban from social media. Hit him where it hurts by making him get a real job!

    1. stiine Silver badge

      Re: A better sentence

      He'll probably piss of another prisoner and get shivved. I won't shed a tear if that happens.

      1. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

        Re: A better sentence

        Wait... what's he going to do with the piss of another prisoner?

  5. Mayday


    Would his payments/royalties etc from the stunt be worth six months of his time?


    I am a licensed skydiver and pilot and I have no intention whatsoever of being such a five-star fuckstick.

    1. PhoenixKebab

      Re: Curious

      That would need to cover 6 months of his time plus the cost of the crashed plane, retrieval helicopter, future insurance costs etc.

      Wonder if he also made a fraudulent insurance claim for the aircraft too?

      1. Spazturtle Silver badge

        Re: Curious

        He purchased the plane from a scrap yard and was told that it was not airworthy. He didn't even register the title change before the crash.

        1. JoeCool Bronze badge

          Re: Curious

          WHAT ??? I had not heard that - it's astounding. In many ways.

        2. Bitbeisser

          Re: Curious

          It needed a check ride after some maintenance, but otherwise was technically fully airworthy. One of the reasons why a check ride would have been required was that he replaced the original, antique (and thus valuable in working order) engine and replaced it with a not type rated replacement engine. For that, it would have needed to have a thorough inspection and flight check in order to be officially safe to fly and get the FAA's "stamp of approval". More of a procedural issue than actually a technical one. AFAIK, the engine of the crashed plane is still missing, so it can't be determined if there was actually anything wrong with it, as he claimed in the video. All of his behavior, and lack of any remedial measures, points rather to the engine to have been perfectly fine and him actually turning it off mid flight...

    2. Jellied Eel Silver badge

      Re: Curious

      I am a licensed skydiver and pilot and I have no intention whatsoever of being such a five-star fuckstick.

      This was one of the slightly odd aspects to this case. Apparently Redbull had wanted to do a similar stunt. Lots of safety planning, doing it over an unpopulated area, promising to clean up etc etc. But apparenly the FAA won't give you a license to intentionally crash a plane, even if it's for a well organised stunt. I'm guessing it's a combination of liabilty avoidance, and probably not wanting to encourage muppets like this one. Kinda curious how Hollywood does/did some of it's aerial stunts, but I guess from the amount of paperwork involved, the answer now is probably CGI.

      1. Spazturtle Silver badge

        Re: Curious

        "But apparenly the FAA won't give you a license to intentionally crash a plane, even if it's for a well organised stunt."

        Discovery channel intentionally crashed a 727 back in 2012.

        I suspect they would enforce a requirement that all crew must depart the aircraft whilst it is in controlled flight and ground crew remotely fly the plane into the ground.

      2. Mayday

        Re: Curious/Hollywood

        I know the guy who filmed Tom Cruise for the Mission Impossible HALO jumps (cant recall which specific MI movie it was). This was all done "correctly" and Tom really did the jump itself. These kind of jumps take CONSIDERABLY more organising, training and specialised equipment compared to a boring old skydive at the local DZ.

        I also know the guy who you may have seen on a Red Bull emblazoned wingsuit where they hop out of the plane, plane goes into a dive then he goes back in. This was not done in USA (unlike Tom's MI jumps), much like the other stunts you see where planes fly into cliffs etc. Therefore the FAA does not care and is subject to whatever the local jurisdiction is.

        Last name drop I promise - there was a Chevy ad where they toss some car out the back of a Skyvan and these skydivers are flying around it, this was filmed in a remote part of Arizona. Most definitely FAA jurisdiction. I know this lot too but I'm unsure as to what approvals they required. One would assume they obtained them as the ad went on to US national TV.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Curious

      YouTube removed and demonetized the video pretty quickly - probably at the request of the FAA

  6. Michael Hoffmann Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    WTF FAA?

    Why in the ever-lasting fuck did you re-instate his PPL?!

    1. AVR

      Re: WTF FAA?

      He asked really nicely? Grovelling (showing sincere contrition) can work.

  7. This post has been deleted by its author

  8. Zibob

    Haven't followed or watched the news about it but did he get the wallet sponsorship money?

    1. Spazturtle Silver badge

      He didn't tell his sponsor what he was going to do, after people realised that he intentionally crashed it his sponsor asked to be removed from the video.

  9. Wanting more

    sell the plane instead

    If this was a scheme to make money, surely the plane was worth more than the sponsorships / commissions? It was able to fly, so the engine instruments were good at least. But maybe he sold them after he helicoptered out the wreckage.

    1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

      Re: sell the plane instead

      It was able to fly, so the engine instruments were good at least. But maybe he sold them after he helicoptered out the wreckage.

      Apparently he swapped the engine out and removed a bunch of other parts, so it was pretty stripped down. Was interesting watching the aviation community going through the video and picking out all the evidence for it being staged. One of the reasons he's in jail though is for recovering the wreckage and then trying to hide it so the 'accident' couldn't be investigated.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: sell the plane instead

        The coverup's pretty much the only reason he's in jail instead of on probation. Doing something stupid as a publicity stunt is a great American pastime.

  10. Antony Shepherd

    What a waste

    What a waste of a lovely vintage aeroplane.

    That idiot shouldn't be allowed to fly so much as a model aeroplane.

  11. Marty McFly Silver badge

    Follow the money

    It is interesting how many news reports have scrubbed out the name of the wallet manufacturer who sponsored Jacobs for this stunt. It is like they are somehow being protected from bad press.

    Ridge wallet from sponsored Trevor Jacobs to crash this plane. Remember that company's ethics when doing your shopping this holiday season.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Follow the money

      The wallet manufacturer was not aware of his plans and as soon as they realised what he had done they asked to be removed from the video and disassociated themselves from him. About 3 days after posting the original video he republished it with all references. to the sponsor removed. This was while there was a lot of suspicion and discussion in the aviation community regarding what he had done, but not yet a detailed criminal investigation or mainstream interest. The speed the sponsor moved to remove themselves suggests they didn't wait until the publicity turned negative to get removed, they must have requested it pretty much as soon as they saw the video.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Follow the money

        Riiight. Here is some money. Pimp our product in a video. Naw, we don't need to know what the video is. Just cash our check.

        Companies don't toss around marketing money without some idea how their brand will be represented. I'll bet it 'seemed like a good idea at the time'.

  12. Bitbeisser

    The plane he crashed was old but in perfect flying conditions. Nothing even remotely "dilapidated". And yes, there were more hints from the start of his video that this was all but a scam stunt. Including flying high enough to safely glide and maneuver to any of at least 3 or 4 emergency landing sites (grass strips, roads, sand bank of a creek)

    He got off far too easy, he even got his pilot license already back and those 6 months are a total joke.

    He should spend at least two years in the klink and lose his pilot license for life...

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