Russian Oligarchs Have a Most Persistent Teen on Their Tails

Jack Sweeney, who's been tracking Elon Musk's private jet, is also keeping tabs on Russia's richest
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 1, 2022 12:24 PM CST
Teen Keeping Tabs on Musk's Jet Now Tracking Oligarchs
Stock photo of a luxury jet that may or may not belong to a Russian oligarch.   (Getty Images/Pinkypills)

The teen who irked Elon Musk for tracking his private jet now has a new lineup of aircraft he's shadowing. The Hill reports that 19-year-old college freshman Jack Sweeney has set up the Russian Oligarch Jets Twitter account, in response to multiple requests to track the planes of Russia's richest as Russia continues its invasion of Ukraine. Bloomberg, which first reported on Sweeney's new venture, notes the teen's latest account went instantly viral—in just days, it's picked up more than 141,000 followers.

So what's the appeal of an account that keeps tabs on the private jets, helicopters, and even commercial-sized airplanes owned by Russian nationals rolling in rubles? Colby Howard, president of corporate aviation intelligence company Paragon Intel, tells Bloomberg that people love juicy tidbits about wealthy people, and that Sweeney's accounts are the "People magazine version" of flight tracker intel. "It's almost a form of paparazzi," Howard says.

Sweeney, for his part, seems to be in awe of the giant aircraft owned by the oligarchs, telling the outlet their planes are "absolutely crazy." He notes that some of the Russian richies fly around in commercial-sized aircraft like Airbus A319s or Boeing 737s. "Their planes are huge compared to other jets," he says. Howard points out that, despite the fun of knowing where all these jets are going, such knowledge doesn't really impart much useful information, as it may be impossible to tell who's even on the aircraft. "One jet flying through Miami holding who knows who doesn't mean anything," he says. (The oligarchs might want to check their accounts—those rubles aren't worth as much at the moment.)

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