Too Cumbersome? Musk No Longer Uses FAA’s Private Jet Stealth Program

Tesla’s CEO, Elon Musk, once tried to hide the flight trajectory of his private jet through a free program of the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). This program allows private planes to use temporary aircraft registration numbers to avoid being discovered by commercial websites or aircraft tracking accounts on social media.

However, according to aircraft tracking company JetSpy, since August 20, 2022, Musk has not utilized the FAA’s stealth program. He first used the program on January 25, 2022, and the last temporary aircraft registration number was only used once before reverting to its original number.

JetSpy believes this might be due to the stealth program being too cumbersome, requiring extensive paperwork, and once exposed, a reapplication is necessary. Moreover, the stealth program can’t completely prevent other methods from identifying private aircraft.

According to Forbes, besides Musk, other celebrities have also used the FAA’s stealth program to conceal the movements of their private planes. This includes Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and singer Taylor Swift. The FAA stated that since the program’s inception in 2019, 390 alternate ID codes have been issued. However, the FAA also acknowledges that the program isn’t a “magic bullet” against aircraft tracking.

In 2021, Musk offered $5,000 (Editor’s note: approximately 36,600 yuan) to a university student, asking him to close a Twitter account that tracked the itinerary of his private jet.