Jack Sweeney, a 20-year-old college student, has made a name for himself by tracking Elon Musk’s private jet on social media. He has now taken this passion to the next level by launching his jet-tracking website. The website, which is set to launch in the coming months, will allow users to track the flight movements of jets in real time.
Sweeney was inspired to establish the web-based public database when JetNet announced last month that it had purchased ADS-B Exchange, a free website that tracks thousands of commercial planes worldwide. Sweeney has been using the ADS-B Exchange website to track flights since 2020.
The site was sold last month, and Sweeney expressed concern that its new owners, data provider JetNet, might yield to requests from celebrities and others to remove their private-jet information from its website.
Sweeney has blasted JetNet and Streufert over the sale, claiming that it undermines the very purpose of ADS-B Exchange.”The whole basis of the organization was that it was a community,” he told Insider. “Everyone chooses to give their data to build a community server and not to a private equity firm or a company trying to make money.”
This isn’t the first challenge Sweeney has faced since he opened his jet-tracking Twitter accounts. In early 2022, Musk offered him $5,000 to stop sharing the information, but the then-teen upped the ante and demanded $50,000. Sweeney claims Musk never asked.
Later, his accounts, including @ElonJet and @ZuccJet, were suspended in December after the billionaire took over Twitter, with Musk calling the jet-tracking accounts a “physical security breach.” Twitter even updated its private information policy to prevent users from sharing people’s live locations, and Sweeney has started posting flight details with a 24-hour wait to comply with the social media site’s policies.
Sweeney’s new website, theairtraffic.com, is similar in design to ADS-B Exchange. It was designed with the same open-source code that powered ADS-B Exchange. Sweeney, on the other hand, stated that he intends to make the website more dynamic and user-friendly than its opponent.