The YouTube Videos with the attention-grabbing title “I crashed into my plane” begins with Trevor Jacob flying a small plane with several cameras attached, showing sweeping views of sepia and green. above Los Padres National Forest in Southern California.
Then the propeller stops spinning. Mr. Jacob unleashed a series of obscenities, opened the door and parachuted out, abandoning the plane as it landed into the woods, holding a selfie stick to record it all.
“I’m so happy to be alive,” he said after landing on a thorn brush, documenting the hike through the woods, which he said in the video, lasted at least six hours until a farmer found him. at dusk. Before that, he had found the wreck of the overturned plane in a dry bush.
Almost immediately, however, viewers and aviation experts expressed doubts online about his description of the November 24 crash, claiming that it was staged to have views and likes, and some of the steps Mr. Jacob has taken, such as though from the outset, are evidence of a pre-determined public stunt.
Mr. Jacob turned off comments for the nearly 13-minute video, which was uploaded to his channel in December and has more than a million views. But the uproar got bigger and bigger.
The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the crash and its cause, which is common practice for both agencies following a plane crash. The agencies declined to comment further on their investigation.
Mr. Jacob, a former snowboarder turned YouTuber with more than 100,000 subscribers, said in a statement on Saturday that “I’m happy to say that I didn’t intentionally crash my plane to get YouTube views.”
Mr. Jacob, who is famous for his adventures like skydiving and snowboarding in Iceland. “I have been filming everything I do since I was 5 years old. Documenting this trip was no different than any other day for me. ”
He added that he flew that day to scatter his best friend’s ashes, Johnny Strange, on the top of the Sierra Nevada mountain. Mr. Strange died in 2015 while jumping BASE, an extreme sport in which people parachute from a fixed structure, such as a cliff.
“People can believe whatever they choose,” Mr. Jacob said. “They have the freedom to do it.”
Mr. Jacob’s denial that the crash was intentional continues to worry some pilots and aviation enthusiasts, who have posted rejected video last month, detailing how they believe Mr. Jacob orchestrated the crash and in the process, they discovered their preferences.
“I watched the video and thought, ‘This is stupid. Why did he do that? ‘” Robert Perry, a flight instructor who has flown over Los Padres National Forest and surrounding areas for nearly four decades, said Saturday. “There were so many things that made me know that this was just a setup.”
One doubt, he said, is “you don’t fly a small plane with a parachute”.
A pilot flying a small plane like the Taylorcraft model Jacob is flying has very little room to maneuver, and to fit in a parachute seat he would have to remove the seat cushion, Perry said. It is unclear whether Mr. Jacob did so.
In the video, referring to his safe landing, Mr Jacob says that’s why he always flies with a parachute.
But in the previous videos, including a 22-minute film titled “Scary Flying Stories” he cannot be seen with a parachute while in flight. However, he mentioned that he was once on a helicopter just in case anything happened.
Another difference is that many small planes, such as Mr. Jacob’s, are able to land safely from high altitudes when they crash. They can land at about 40 miles per hour, with pilots usually suffering only minor injuries, Perry said.
Mr. Perry said: ‘He was able to land even over mountainous terrain. “He’s at an altitude high enough from the video that he can glide 15 miles into some grassland or road and put it down normally.”
Timothy Loranger, an aviation attorney based in Los Angeles, said Saturday that the video was “all very convenient” and questionable.
Propeller stops? That would only happen if Mr Jacob withdrew from control and slowed the plane, creating a “dramatic effect”, Mr Loranger said. That didn’t see the attempt to restart the engines and didn’t hear Mr. Jacob call air traffic control? It was the act of someone who didn’t appear to be in real danger, he said.
“He didn’t do anything that I think even a pilot with basic training would do,” Mr Loranger said.
After the National Transportation Safety Board finds out the cause of the crash, the FAA will likely attempt to determine “whether the pilot acted appropriately or did something illegal,” Loranger said. regulations”.
Mr. Loranger said the video still angered the pilots.
“There is no reasonable person to fly an airplane with the intention of jumping out of it and allowing the plane to take off from afar,” he said. “It just goes against everything a pilot stands for. Safety is paramount.”
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/01/23/us/trevor-jacob-youtube-plane-investigation.html A Youtuber’s plane crash attracts suspicion from aviation experts