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FAA Revokes YouTuber’s Pilot License for Crashing His Plane for Views

The FAA says Trevor Jacob's actions were "careless and reckless" in a letter.
screengrab via YouTube | Trevor Jacob

The Federal Aviation Administration has revoked the pilot license of former Olympian snowboarder Trevor Jacob. This comes after an investigation revealed that he “purposefully caused” his plane to crash in a viral video posted to YouTube late last year.

In a letter sent to Jacob, the FAA called his actions “careless and reckless,” noting that they endangered the lives and property of others. The findings outlined in the agency’s letter concluded that while an emergency had occurred, it wasn’t that the plane’s engine failed; instead, Jacob’s “lack of qualifications” forced an emergency to air commerce—so, the FAA revoked his license.

“[Y]ou 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,” wrote the FAA’s Office of Chief Counsel in a letter sent to Jacob. “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. Thus, your actions as described above clearly reflect a lack of qualifications necessary for airman certification.”

The FAA listed multiple justifications in its assertation that Jacob intentionally crashed the plane in his YouTube video rather than taking the steps that he would have been trained for prior to receiving his license.

For starters, the FAA says that it came to this determination, in part, due to the fact that Jacob attached multiple cameras to the plane, including angles specifically showing the propeller. He also wore a sport parachute when operating the plane, something he claims that he “always” does—yet a video posted on Saturday, April 23 shows him flying without one. While in the plane, the FAA says that Jacob opened the door prior to claiming that the engine had failed, made no attempt to contact air traffic control upon the claimed failure, and made no attempt to restart the engine or find a safe area to land. After he jumped out of the plane, the FAA says he used a selfie stick to record himself and the plane descending before recovering the cameras and then recovering and disposing of the wreckage.

The full revocation letter can be read below:

Critics commend the FAA for revoking Jacob’s license, though some feel that it should have happened even sooner given the blatant disregard he showed for anyone on the ground (or potentially in the air) when performing the stunt.

The FAA can’t prosecute Jacob for this, though it can fine him and prevent him from obtaining a pilot’s license in the future. The letter says the agency will not accept another pilot’s license application from him for at least a year, though in a new video posted by Jacob speaking about the revocation, he posted a redacted screenshot of an email supposedly from the FAA which noted a “settlement agreement” that lowered his re-application suspension to 10 months.

Jacob jokes that he is considering giving up flying altogether since he’s “hated,” but kisses his pilot’s license before dropping it in the mailbox, stating that he would “see [it] in 10 months.”

In case you don’t want to give the video views, I’ll give you a quick synopsis: Jacob shows several news clips covering the revocation, says that he’s on the FBI’s terrorist watch list, advertises merch being sold to cover lawyer’s fees, apologized if anyone “chose” to be offended by him, and then drops his license off at the post office.

Meanwhile, it appears that both fans and critics are taking the time to voice their opinion in the YouTube comments. Some are upset that the FAA didn’t come down hard enough, while others are criticizing Jacob for not showing accountability for his actions or realizing the danger that he could have potentially put people in—whether that be people below him, others in the sky, or even the potential of a forest fire.

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