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Former Olympian Might Have Staged A Plane Crash For Views


Gif: YouTube / Trevor Jacob

From eating laundry detergent pods to entering the world of pay-per-view boxing bouts, the ridiculous antics from clout-chasing YouTubers seem to know no bounds. Though, I’ve never seen anyone crash a plane for views before.

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The video in question was posted this week on the personal YouTube channel of Trevor Jacob and simply titled “I Crashed My Plane.” Jacob was a snowboarder on the US Olympic Team at the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia. Nowadays, he operates Adventured. Adventured is an online platform where users can offer adventure experiences and services, like learning to shoot with a Navy SEAL or skydiving with Trevor Jacob.

At the vlog’s start, Trevor Jacob states that he’s going to fly a 1940 Taylorcraft to Mammoth Lakes, California to paraglide, snowboard and spread the ashes of Johnny Strange, his late best friend. And it being YouTube, he ends this opening statement with an impromptu endorsement for the video’s sponsor Ridge Wallet.

After a quick montage showing takeoff, Jacob talks to the camera to give a quick update and flash Strange’s ashes on camera again. Shortly afterward, the aircraft’s engine cuts out. He opens the door a few times, seemingly contemplating jumping or not. Then, he finally decides to leave the plane with a camera in hand.

The plane crashes into the terrain. Jacob lands in an area with thick brush and suffers a few minor cuts. Jacob hikes his way to the crash site and spends the rest of the day trying to get help. Eventually, he’s able to flag down a couple of farmers driving a truck on a dirt road. The video concludes with Jacob driving to Mammoth days later, where he finally scatters Johnny Strange’s ashes and goes paragliding.

I don’t have any experience as a pilot outside of Microsoft Flight Simulator, so I’m not going to speculate if Jacob spent enough time looking for a place to land the plane. However, a few weird things stand out in the video.

First, Jacob is wearing a skydiving harness. Throughout the video, he mentions that he never flies without a parachute. After Jacob lands, collects himself and surveys his surroundings, he says, “Where the hell am I going to land a freaking plane? I’m gonna die. That’s why I always freaking fly with a parachute.” Justifying his decision to abandon the plane to himself and viewers. Though, there are several other videos where Jacob is flying and not wearing a harness.

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In one of those videos, he describes narrowly avoiding a plane crash because his dog repeatedly jumped into his lap during a takeoff. Despite including footage of the plane lifting off the runway during the flight, the video doesn’t have any footage of his dog being aggressive or obstructive in the cockpit.

Second, the 1940 Talyorcraft BL-65 is fitted with three cameras in the crash video. There is the cockpit camera that Trevor Jacob jumps with, as well as cameras on the plane’s wing and tail. It seems strange to thoroughly document this routine flight to your own hometown.

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Third, why did Trevor Jacob begin the video with the flight? If the video was meant to honor Johnny Strange and scatter his ashes, why not begin filming at Mammoth? Coincidentally, the most-viewed video on Jacob’s channel in the past eight years is also about Johnny Strange.

Earlier this year, Trevor Jacob posted a documentary-style video titled “My Best Friend Died BASE Jumping” that currently has over 2.8 million views. Johnny Strange was an accomplished adventurer who by the age of 17 climbed the Seven Summits, the highest mountains on each of the seven continents. In 2015, Strange died at 23 years of age in a wingsuit jump accident in Switzerland. The video is a tribute to Strange but is framed around a visceral recounting of the fatal jump featuring eyewitness testimony and GoPro footage of the jump.

I can’t say whether or not if Trevor Jacob intentionally crashed a plane and tied it to the subject of his most-viewed video in almost a decade just to garner views. I just don’t want staging plane crashes to become the next viral trend on YouTube.

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