“I’m just so happy to be alive,” Jacob said at one point in the video.
Now, after an investigation by the Federal Aviation Administration, the agency has revoked his pilot certificate and concluded that Jacob crashed the plane as a stunt.
“On November 24, 2021, you demonstrated a lack of care, judgment, and responsibility by choosing to jump out of a plane solely so that you could record the footage of the crash,” the agency said in a letter to Jacob on April 11.
In a YouTube video posted Saturday, Jacob stood by his plane crash video in December. “I did not think that just posting a video of an adventure that has gone south would ruffle so many feathers,” he said.
Jacob also filmed himself sending his pilot’s certificate wearing a shirt that said in bold black letters: “ALWAYS CARRY YOUR FOLDER SCREEN.” When Jacob traveled to the post office, he said, “The aviation community has been pretty hard on me, so I’m considering quitting altogether and just giving up just because I’m hated.”
Neither Jacob nor his lawyer responded to a request for comment from The Washington Post late Sunday.
Jacob is a former Olympic snowboarder who finished ninth in the men’s snowboardcross competition at the 2014 Winter Games. Since then, Jacob has posted videos on his YouTube channel where he himself parachutes, performs snowboard stunts and flies propeller planes.
The FAA cited several pieces of evidence that Jacob deliberately crashed his plane in November, saying he did not call for air traffic control, try to restart the engine or try to land the plane “even though there were several areas within gliding range where you could have made a safe landing. “
Jacob also attached several cameras to the exterior of the plane, the FAA noted, and continued to record the plane’s descent into the mountains with his selfie stick as he fell from the sky. In addition, the FAA said Jacob disposed of the wreckage and recovered the cameras he had attached to it.
The agency called the crash “careless and ruthless,” noting that Jacob could have injured someone or damaged property. The Los Padres National Forest stretches 220 miles and attracts visitors for hiking and camping.
Jacob may not apply for his license again for a year, according to the FAA letter.
John Nance, an aviation expert, told ABC’s “Good Morning America” that the FAA did the “right thing” but should have done it sooner. “This person never belongs in heaven,” he said, adding that Jacob’s actions were “cheeky.”
Before the FAA made its decision, members of the aviation community doubted that Jacob’s video was genuine, saying that it was unusual for Jacob to have a parachute on a scheduled flight and that he was not trying to land the plane. Parachutes are typically used only by aerobatic pilots or those doing flight tests, said Trent Palmer, a pilot with his own YouTube channel who criticized Jacob after the crash.
“It blows my mind that he would go out of his way to ruin a plane like that for something as stupid as YouTube views,” Palmer said.