He may be only 20 years old, but a brilliant young University of Central Florida college student created headlines earlier this year when he got the atention of the wealthiest man in the world, Elon Musk.
Jack Sweeney is soft-spoken, shy, and not at all affected by the attention he has received following his encounter with Musk. The billionaire offered to pay him to stop tracking his private jet travel after Sweeney launched the enormously popular Twitter account @elonjet, with almost half a million followers. Even though he turned down Musk’s cash offer to take the account down, there is a chance the two of them could eventually settle if Musk takes him along for a ride on his jet and lets him film it.
Surprisingly, Jack Sweeney has never flown on a private jet and is really just fascinated by airplanes of all types, not just famous ones. We spoke at length about his popular Twitter account @CelebJets, which follows celebrities, Russian oligarchs, and others and their private jet trips, many of them lasting under 20 minutes.
Sweeney began his aviation adventure by writing unique code that was taken from data through public websites like ADS-B Exchange (Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast) and OpenSky Network, which post the location of every federally regulated aircraft.
He started a company called Ground Control that monitors the flights of the world’s most wealthy and has plans to start a website with more detailed coverage. He is also passionate about Offset4Jets, which was created to bring awareness to companies’ efforts toward cleaner travel. Billionaires like Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates are among those who have pledged to offset carbon emissions caused by their jets.
Jet owners would buy offsets through a company that runs a facility that removes carbon dioxide from the air. “This ultimately helps balance their carbon footprint by funding environmental projects that reduce greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. One carbon offset credit supposedly equals one metric ton of carbon dioxide, or a comparable amount of other greenhouse gases, removed from the air.”
There are now dozens of flight trackers who are fascinated with the activities of private jet owners. My friends at SuperYachtFan have also launched a private jets database of who owns these magnificent jets. They list the most popular jets among the rich and famous as; Gulfstream G650 ($70 million) owned by Jeff Bezos, Larry Ellison, Bill Gates, David Geffen, Laurene Powell Jobs, Ralph Lauren, Elon Musk, Steven Spielberg, Nancy Walton Laurie, Robert Kraft, Ralph Lauren, Ronald Perelman, James Simons, and Oprah Winfrey; Dassault Falcon ($60 Million) owned by Kenny Chesney and Taylor Swift; and Bombardier ($50 Million) owned by Mark Wahlberg, Tom Cruise, Marc Cuban, Barry Diller, John Henry, Shahid Khan, and Kylie Jenner.
Ground Control offers a unique perspective on how much money is spent on these extravagant jet journeys, with many trips lasting under an hour. Here is a sampling of famous private jet owners that the company has tracked throughout the summer.
Summer jet trips: London, Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, Las Vegas, Toronto
Summer jet trips: Dallas, Calgary, Oklahoma, Iowa
Bombardier Challenger 300
Summer jet trips: Ireland, Aspen, Maryland, Bangor-Maine, Las Vegas, Napa, Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, Denver, Tennessee.
Cessna 680 Citation
Summer jet trips: Idaho Falls, Jackson-Wyoming, Montana, Tennessee
Summer jet trips: Miami, Atlanta, New York, Las Vegas, Coeur d’Alene-Idaho, Westhampton
Summer jet trips: Turks & Caicos, Palm Springs, Milan, London, Big Whale Cay-Bahamas, Berry Islands-Bahamas, Miami, Westhampton
Summer jet trips: Turks & Caicos, Westhampton, Paris, Australia, Nice, Naples, Big Whale Cay-Bahamas.
Dassault Falcon 900
Summer jet trips: Nashville, Montana, Idaho, Oregon, Monterey, Rhode Island, Key West, Utah, Virgin Islands.
Summer jet trips: Puerto Vallarta, New Jersey, Colorado, Seattle, Dusseldorf, Bavaria, Hawaii, Iceland, Medellin-Colombia.
Summer jet trips: Aspen, Westhampton, Lake Tahoe, Sardinia, Naplesm Nice, Tuscany, Milan.
Summer jet trips: Honolulu, Las Vegas, Utah, Atlantic City, Miami, Dallas
Embraer ERJ 170-100
Summer jet trips: Miami, London, Westhampton, Oregon, Napa, Bangor-Maine, Copenhagen, Denver, Salt Lake City.
Summer jet trips: Dubai, Nice, Bangor-Maine, Las Vegas, Austin, Paraguay, Tijuana
Summer jet trips: Ireland, London, Martha’s Vineyard, London, Rotterdam, Westhampton.
Dassault Falcon 7x
Summer jet trips: London, Nashville, Missouri, Connecticut, Florida, Denver, Toronto
Summer jet trips: West Palm Beach, Stockholm, Ireland, Scotland, Barcelona, Mallorca
Summer jet trips: Stockholm, Ibiza, Nice, Barcelona, Turks & Caicos, Toronto
Summer jet trips: Hawaii, Santa Barbara
Summer jet trips: Rome, Venice, Austin, Hailey-Idaho, Mykonos, Bodrum-Turkey, Westhampton, Norway, Berlin.
Jeff Bezos (@BezosJets)
Summer jet trips: Tanzania, Paris, Switzerland, London, Seattle
Bill Gates (@gatesjets)
Summer jet trips: Johannesburg, Nairobi, Canouan-Grenadines, Washington, Idaho, London, Marseilles, Provence, Seattle, Montana, St George-Utah, Seoul-Korea, Tokyo
Summer jet trips: Marseilles, Provence, Perugia, Tuscany, San Francisco
Mark Zuckerberg (@ZuccJet)
Gulfstream G650 and Airbus Helicopter EC-145
Summer jet trips: Lake Tahoe, Idaho, Seattle, Wyoming, Austin
Lauren Powell Jobs
Summer jet trips: Austria, Spain, Corsica, Sardinia, Paris, Naples, Trieste, Palermo, London, Venice