Concerns over the environmental impact of Kylie Jenner brief flight on a private plane went viral last week. This did not bother Jack Sweeney. Jenner’s journey was disclosed by @CelebJets, a 19-year-old who has been openly tracking the private jets of billionaires and celebrities since January.
Elon Musk has taken even shorter flights on his private plane without nearly as much of a fuss, he claims, and the reaction to Jenner’s 17-minute flight surprised him.
It’s only a 10-minute drive between LAX and Hawthorne Airport, according to Sweeney, who claims that Musk has flown there many times. Jenner flew from Camarillo, California, to Van Nuys, California, a distance of around 40 miles.
In an interview, Sweeney says: “I’m not particularly [surprised] by how people react.”. “There are a plethora of reasons why they should be taken off guard. That [flights] can be tracked, that it’s a celebrity, and that it’s a short flight. “
With 30 Twitter accounts dedicated to tracking the private jet travel habits of millionaires and celebrities, Sweeney, a sophomore at the University of Central Florida who also works as a software developer for UberJets. A popular name he uses to follow Musk’s movements on Twitter was made famous in January when Sweeney refused to take down the account for $5,000 after being offered the opportunity by Musk. That account currently has over half a million subscribers.
ADS-B Exchange, a public website that posts the location, altitude, and speed transmitted by every federally controlled aircraft, was used to pull data for Sweeney’s accounts, which began appearing in June 2020.
Sweeney points out that data might be misleading at times. Dropping off a passenger at one airport and then storing the plane at another neighboring airport are common occurrences for short trips.
According to Sweeney, Jenner’s short flight was to park the plane in Camarillo while they got out at Van Nuys. “Kim [Kardashian] is the same.” Parking the aircraft at Camarillo is likely to be less expensive.”
Celebrity tracker @CelebJets shows that Drake agrees with Sweeney’s hypothesis. “This is just the relocating planes to whatever airport they are being held at for anyone who was interested in the logistics… nobody takes that flight,” Drake posted on Instagram on Tuesday.
Recently, Sweeney has been accused of compromising celebrities’ privacy through his flight-tracking initiatives. Sweeney, on the other hand, seems unmoved by the fact that his programming is based on openly available data. He asserts that the information is available to anyone who wants it and that celebrities aren’t hesitant about sharing photographs of their private jets on social media.
All of these photographs are posted on private planes, Sweeney says. ‘It isn’t a secret.’ For the time being, Sweeney’s side hustle is passive and not very lucrative, according to him. Advertising and donations to his website bring in about $200 a month for him. He claims he hopes to develop his website into an all-in-one celebrity flight tracker or find a way to give carbon offsets for some of the flights he monitors in order to make the initiative more viable in the future.
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No major changes are planned for the foreseeable future. According to Sweeney, he’ll be traveling and working throughout the summer before returning to university in the fall to continue developing his code, which will include the addition of more jets.
A curious thing happens when you return to school, says Sweeney: you feel like you get more done. “There are fewer distractions,” he says.
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