Jake Sweeney: Teen who tracked Elon Musk's private jet is now tracking Russian billionaires' jets
After tracking Elon Musk's private jet, the teen has set up a new Twitter account that tracks jets belonging to Russian oligarchs
After soaring to internet fame by challenging the world's richest man, 19-year-old Jake Sweeney has turned his attention to tracking Russian oligarchs. Sweeney has set up a new Twitter account called @RUOligarchJets, which he says tracks the movements of various aircraft owned by Russian billionaires, using bots to detect air traffic data.
The freshman student at the University of Central Florida first came to public attention after Elon Musk asked him to shut down his Twitter account, @Elon'sjets, that tracked the whereabouts of his private jet. Musk had asked Sweeney to take the account down earlier in the fall in exchange for $5,000, calling it a security risk. However, Sweeney ultimately refused and asked for an internship instead. He later made a counter-offer for $50,000, which Musk declined.
Sweeney says he started @RUOligarchJets after he received several requests to track the aircraft of Russia's oligarchs following the invasion of Ukraine. Until last week, he knew very little about Russian billionaires or their planes, he claims. However, the new Twitter account has already garnered 104.4K followers.
Sweeney told Bloomberg, "Before this, I didn't even know there were these influential oligarchs like this. They probably do have a decent amount of power, from what I can understand. The aircrafts these oligarchs have are absolutely crazy. Their planes are huge compared to other jets."
Roman Abramovich's Jet LX-RAY Took off near Moscow, Moscow Oblast, RU. pic.twitter.com/HXwLMBPocn— Russian Oligarch Jets (@RUOligarchJets) February 28, 2022
The planes Sweeney is tracking include aircraft owned by Russia's richest resident, Vladimir Potanin, Roman Abramovich, the owner of Chelsea football club, and Alexander Abramov, a steel billionaire.
Alexander Abramov's Jet D-APGS Took off from London, England, GB. pic.twitter.com/SsiYfkINLr— Russian Oligarch Jets (@RUOligarchJets) March 1, 2022
Sweeney's account is currently tracking 39 planes and helicopters belonging to 19 oligarchs. He used a list of planes, ranging from private jets and helicopters to commercial-sized aircraft, that were already being tracked by a blog called Radar Spots.
"People have been asking me about Putin for a while, they wanted to know if they could track him," Sweeney told NBC. "It's just been crazy. I just figured some people would be interested in it. I just didn't think all kinds of people would be."
The 19-year-old has also set up a second account @PutinJet that tracks planes registered to President Putin and other Russian VIPs. This account has around 21K followers as of now. However, he warns that the information might not be entirely accurate because there is limited flight data available in Russia.
Although the account is able to track aircraft movements, it is unable to provide any crucial context and it remains unclear who might be traveling on the flights or their reasons for traveling. Nevertheless, one Russian expert told the DailyMail that authorities should use the information obtained by Sweeney's account to seize assets.