Image courtesy: YouTubeSocial media has taken over our existing reality, and as a result, some individuals will do anything to receive attention and fame from the public. This desire leads people to participate in dangerous and, what many would call, ignorant activities.What might have been a prime example of this situation was posted to YouTube on Christmas Eve. Trevor Jacob parachuted out of his aircraft and crashed it into the side of a mountain after claiming he experienced an engine failure. Whether this event was accidental or meticulously planned out, it has been a hot topic of discussion within the aviation community.Trevor Jacob's background Trevor Jacob, a California native, is a former Olympic snowboarder-turned-daredevil YouTube personality. He began posting consistently on his channel around four years ago, primarily creating content of activities such as skydiving, snowboarding, scuba diving and skateboarding. His videos are geared toward adventure-seeking activities, and he currently has 129,000 subscribers.According to the FAA Registry, Jacob obtained his private pilot license in mid-June of 2020 and has since posted videos of his aviation adventures.
About Trevor Jacob's plane crash video on YouTubeThe video that sparked all this discussion was posted on his YouTube titled "I crashed my plane," has been viewed more than 904,000 times as of this posting. At the beginning of the video, he claims he posted it to teach other pilots and let them learn from his experience. Since then, Jacob has gone through and edited out approximately 4 minutes of the video, cutting out the introduction, text screens, Ridge Wallet advertisement, and the ending portion of the video.He proclaimed the importance of always wearing a parachute on the text screens, but that precaution is not evident in his previous videos. The particular parachute he was wearing is not used for emergency operations. It is not typical for general aviation pilots to wear a parachute while flying, and the ones who do are usually performing aerobatic maneuvers and therefore utilize a different kind of chute.
Jacob departed Lompoc Airport (KLPC), located in Santa Barbara County, California, in late November in his TaylorCraft BL-65. He headed towards Mammoth Mountain to spread the ashes of his late friend, whom he says died while BASE jumping.Early into the flight, Jacob claims to be experiencing an engine failure. The pilot quickly looks around before evacuating the plane and parachuting to the ground. After landing, he walks through the remote environment for 8 hours before running into local farmers that brought him back to civilization. This entire event was documented by multiple GoPro cameras mounted on the body of the aircraft as well as a handheld camera.What a pilot sees in the Trevor Jacob plane crash videoFrom a pilot training standpoint, there are many things incorrect with how Jacob went about recovering from the emergency situation. Pilots go through involved training and are taught what to do in an engine failure. This might come as a surprise, but 'jumping plane' is not on the checklist.
The altitude he was at and the way his engine failed transformed the aircraft from an engine-driven vehicle into a glider. Since he was in the terrain, it would have been more challenging to find a decent place to land, but a dried-up river in the basin could have aided his situation, as seen in portions of the video.
He is not seen making any form of emergency radio call or attempt at restarting the engine. During the emergency situation, there was no footage of the panel, evidence of an engine restart, or even a checklist insight. If Jacob's intent was to allow other pilots to learn from his mistake, as he claims, he could have included a voice-over explaining his methods, why restart was not effective, or engine out procedures, but he did not take that opportunity.Second, if he was indeed in a life or death situation, as he claims, why did he trek uphill to his aircraft when he had no supplies and waste valuable time in the elements?
The FAA is now investigating the crashHis actions leading up to the situation appear drastically intentional, which reported claims from people who work at the airport echo, and that is likely among the factors that the FAA and NTSB are investigating. Federal agencies do not comment on active investigations.Despite the social media comments, what does not matter here is that he has "bad acting" or "appears suspicious." But what rules and regulations, if any, did he break? Was there intent behind his actions, or is he simply victim to an accidental situation? These are the questions to be asked when analyzing this situation. A goal in aviation is always to be learning and growing from success and mistakes.
This situation can be a learning experience, always to remind aviators to put safety first and not let social media stardom influence a potential lapse in judgment.