The FAA has confirmed it’s investigating the circumstances of a video purporting to show the November crash of a 1940 Taylorcraft posted by YouTuber Trevor Jacob. “The FAA is investigating this event,” the agency said in a statement issued Monday. “The agency does not discuss open investigations.” The video prompted an explosive and generally harsh reaction from commenters on YouTube and on various forums. Many are calling for an investigation into the production of the video; a few are calling it fake. And plenty have analyzed it frame by frame to support their accusations about its authenticity.
Jacob, whose YouTube channel says he has 126,000 subscribers, has not responded to an email request for comment. We also contacted a woman with a similar name and address to those of the registered owner of the aircraft but have received no response.
In the 17-minute video, shot Nov. 24 but posted a month later, Jacob says he’s flying to Mammoth to spread the ashes of a friend. He apparently took off from Lompoc Airport and the crash was reported to have taken place in Los Padres National Forest near Cayuma, California, about 50 miles north of Santa Barbara. There is commentary on the weather and reference to his deceased friend but no description of the circumstances of the alleged engine failure. Video from three angles show him straining to open the door before diving headfirst behind the strut, never letting go of a selfie stick. The cameras also cover what appears to be a crash sequence.
After landing in some scrub brush with a few cuts and scrapes, he makes his way to a crashed aircraft, with the camera still rolling. There’s more of him hiking out and finally running into other people. The video ends with him climbing a mountain days later to launch a paraglider to finally spread the ashes of his friend. By Monday, the video had attracted almost 100,000 views.