How a Florida college student chased Elon Musk’s jet

As a freshman at the University of Central Florida, Jack Sweeney discovered his love for Tesla, SpaceX and aviation. He knows a thing or two about aircraft systems and how GPS positioning information is a matter of publicly available data.

He learned that part from his father who, according to Jack, works in the airline industry. Combined with his intelligent knowledge of programming, at the age of 18 Jack developed an algorithm that taps into public aircraft data and extracts what is needed from this otherwise mundane aircraft information to usefully see when and where some of the most interesting private planes are on their next departure.

Like Jack Tracks

Sweeney learned early on that it is the voluminous ADS-B data that is rich in information, such as B. GPS position, altitude and ground speed sent every second from aircraft in flight to ground stations. ADS-B is the abbreviation for Automatic Dependent Surveillance – Broadcast and was originally developed as an interface between aircraft avionics and air traffic control systems.

Jack Sweeney claimed an anonymous Twitter employee told him his account was "Internal visibility severely restricted/restricted" on Dec 2

Jack Sweeney claimed an anonymous Twitter worker told him his account was closed on 2/12.
(Getty Images, file)

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What is already public about Elon Musk’s G650 private jet

A recent trip from a private airport in Miami to Oakland, California, near Twitter’s home of San Francisco and less than an hour from the Tesla factory in Fremont, reveals the following to the public on Twitter:

  • The 2,574-mile OPF to OAK flight landed in Miami 5 hours and 18 minutes after takeoff
  • Consumed 2,673 gallons weighing 17,915 pounds of fuel
  • $17,348 fuel cost
  • 28 tons of CO2 emissions

You can see how much CO2 emissions are estimated on each of Musk’s private jet trips. Data shared on ElonJet feeds also shows the amount of fuel used, cost and duration of the private flight.

Air-to-ground air traffic systems provide a number of public data points. Most annoying for the billionaire is the location and next destination of his jet. The information makes it nearly impossible for Musk to arrive at any of his business locations without warning.

A number of popular flight tracking apps such as FlightAware and FlightRadar24 available on the App Store use the same aircraft data for tracking.

A number of popular flight tracking apps such as FlightAware and FlightRadar24 available on the App Store use the same aircraft data for tracking.

Taylor SwiftAir Force One Putin and Russian oligarchs make the list too

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Jack also follows Russian oligarchs and communist leader Putin’s jet, which appears to fly exclusively in Russian airspace. No doubt the task forces of NATO countries interested in seizing one of the multimillion-dollar private planes can appreciate where each of them will land next.

Aircraft data are public

A number of popular flight tracking apps such as FlightAware and FlightRadar24 available on the App Store use the same aircraft data for tracking.

Anonprofit The OpenSky Network has been collecting unfiltered raw aircraft data since 2013 and making it available to researchers and scientists. They have accumulated over 30 trillion ADS-B, Mode-S, TCAS and FLARM reports and claim to have the largest air traffic surveillance data sets in the world.

Jack Sweeney’s use of ElonJet technology is no different than popular aircraft tracking apps

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Today, the same data is used in a number of popular flight tracking apps such as FlightRadar24, available on the Google Play and Apple App Stores, in addition to Sweeney’s automated jet feeds displaying information on notable aircraft. Another app, OpenADSB, tracks Elon’s jet and any other aircraft you want to see by simply entering the registration on the tail, also known as the “N” number.

Musk can’t cancel Jack’s ElonJet tracking – here’s how to get it

Jack also posts his private plane tracking on Instagram, Facebook, Telegram and Truth. You can seeLinks to all of his aircraft tracking feeds here. Jack doesn’t yet charge for the clever automatic updates, merely offering them as a service that provides insight into an area the super-rich and a controlling billionaire would rather not discuss. Aside from Musk’s Twitter, no social network has shown interest in banning or censoring Jack’s various plane-tracking projects.

Many on the left are sounding the alarm over the Twitter takeover of Elon Musk.

Many on the left are sounding the alarm over the Twitter takeover of Elon Musk.

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Shoot the messenger

Why target a smart 20-year-old college boy who idolizes innovators like Musk when all Sweeney wants at the end of the day, as he admits, is an internship at Musk?

If you don’t like public data being available as a result of the FAA and aviation legacy processes designed to help planes fly, then change it like you did with electric cars and space travel.

Dear Elon, what chance is there that you would take this opportunity to step out from behind the wizard’s curtain and choose to embrace another intelligent human who could possibly help you get to Mars? At least you could both add something worthwhile as friends instead of attacking someone not your size.

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As it is now, I see a big tech billionaire who looks more like the Wicked Witch of the West going after Toto, the dog from The Wizard of Oz, to destroy Dorothy’s journey.

We all know how that turned out in the end.

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