Elon Musk has taken shorter flights than Kylie Jenner

When Kylie Jenner’s very brief flight on a private jet went viral last week, people were outraged — especially at the environmental impact of the trip.

Jack Sweeney was unimpressed. The 19-year-old, whose Twitter account @CelebJets published Jenner’s Journey has made a name for himself since January by publicly stalking the private jets of billionaires and celebrities. He says the reaction to Jenners 17 minute flight was only surprising to him because he’s seen Elon Musk take even shorter flights on his private jet without nearly as much uproar.

According to Sweeney, Musk has flown multiple times from Los Angeles International Airport to Hawthorne Airport, which is about six miles — a 10-minute drive — apart. That’s a lot shorter than Jenner’s approximately 40-mile flight from Camarillo, Calif. to Van Nuys, Calif.

“I’m not real [surprised] people are reacting,” Sweeney tells CNBC Make It. “There are so many reasons they have to be surprised. The fact that [flights] are even traceable that it’s a celebrity and it’s a fast flight.”

Musk did not immediately respond to CNBC’s Make Its request for comment.

Sweeney, a University of Central Florida student who also writes software for UberJets, controls 30 Twitter accounts that follow the private jets of billionaires, celebrities and Russian oligarchs. His most popular name, @ElonJet, tracks Musk’s movements – and went viral in January after Sweeney rejected Musk’s offer to close the account for $5,000. This handle now has more than 478,000 followers.

The accounts, which surfaced in June 2020, automatically publish flight coordinates from code Sweeney wrote to pull data from public websites like ADS-B Exchange, which publish the location, altitude and speed broadcast by each state-regulated aircraft will.

In particular, Sweeney says the data can sometimes be deceiving. Particularly short flights can often be explained by a simple explanation: the pilot drops off his passenger at one airport and then parks the plane at another nearby airport.

“I believe [Jenner’s short flight] was for parking the planes in Camarillo while they disembark at Van Nuys,” Sweeney tweeted last week. “The same goes for Kim [Kardashian]. It’s probably cheaper to park the plane in Camarillo.”

Music star Drake, whose whereabouts are also being followed on @CelebJets, supports Sweeney’s theory. In a comment Tuesday on an Instagram post about Drake’s own extra-short flights, the rapper wrote, “It’s just them taking planes to the airport where they’re stored for anyone interested in the logistics… nobody’s taking.” this flight.”

Sweeney’s flight-tracking efforts have recently been accused of invading celebrity privacy. But because his code draws on public data, Sweeney remains unsympathetic. He says anyone with motivation can access the information, and celebrities themselves aren’t usually shy about posting photos of their jets on social media.

“People have the private planes, they post all these pictures on them,” Sweeney says. “It is no secret.”

For now, Sweeney says his side business remains fairly passive — and not very lucrative. He makes a few hundred dollars each month from advertising revenue and donations for his website. He says he plans to eventually make the project more profitable, listing ideas like expanding his website into an all-in-one flight tracker for celebrities, or finding a way to carbon offset some of the flights he tracks to offer.

Just don’t expect any major updates in the coming months: Sweeney says he’s spending the summer traveling and working, and won’t be expanding his code — mostly adding more jets to his project — until he returns to campus this fall.

“The funny thing is when I get back to school, I feel like I’ve gotten more done,” Sweeney says. “There are fewer distractions.”

Join Now: Keep in touch with your money and your career with our weekly newsletter

Do not miss:

Kylie Jenner, Kim Kardashian Switch Instagram to Video; CEO admits changes are ‘not good yet’

Mark Cuban Says This Is His Worst Shark Tank Investing Ever: ‘Next All The Money Is Gone’

Leave a Comment