Tracking Jeffrey Epstein’s Business Jets: The Final Years

Was Jeffrey Epstein in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on Election Day 2016? According to data gleaned from Plane Finder, his private jet traveled from Paris, France to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on November 7, 2016. It returned to Paris on November 9, 2016. The purposes of that trip — and whether Epstein was aboard his own plane — are unknown. With Epstein dead by an apparent suicide, the questions surrounding his death and his life continue to pile up far faster than the answers. 

August 28, 2019 — Eric R Rosenwald

I’m a freelance video/photo-journalist based in Tucson, Arizona. I occasionally publish written news reports.

In 2016, I started tracking Jeffrey Epstein’s business jets using ADSB (Automatic Dependent Surveillance—Broadcast) flight tracking services ADSBExchange and Plane Finder. I had experience reporting on an FBI surveillance aircraft related to the 2015 San Bernardino attack, and I knew that the same tools could easily be used to track his notorious jets.

Each ADSB service bases their information on the same aircraft broadcasts, but they use different receiver networks. A given flight may appear on one service but not on others. ADSBExchange is unique in that it’s not a commercial service, and never accepts requests to block flights from public view. Because of this, it’s a popular tool for investigative journalists. 

While Business Insider published ADSB flight tracking reports on Epstein’s aircraft in July and August, my reporting incorporates additional data sets. I’ve taken it a step further by providing statistical data, a color-coded list of flights, and charts. Data visualization is an important part of this report. Without a visual component, it’s difficult to fully appreciate the rarity of some flights or identify apparent travel patterns.

While the information I’m including in this report is of value, it’s crucial to understand what conclusions cannot be drawn from this data. My reporting and analysis does NOT:

  • Account for every flight: ADSB signals may not have been picked up by receivers, and the pilot has the ability to turn off the broadcasts

  • Pinpoint the location of Jeffrey Epstein or any other individual at any moment in time. Without complete flight manifests, it’s possible Epstein’s aircraft was, at times, used for purposes other than transporting Epstein

Questions:

  • Was Jeffrey Epstein in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on Election Day 2016? If so, why? Did he travel alone? If Epstein did not travel to Riyadh on that date, why was his aircraft there?

  • Are any flights to Tucson, Arizona related to Epstein’s charitable contributions to the University of Arizona? 

  • Did Epstein attend the 2017 Science of Consciousness Conference in San Diego? If Epstein did not travel to San Diego on that date, why was his aircraft there?

  • Are any flights to Boston, Massachusetts related to Epstein’s charitable contributions to Harvard or MIT?

  • Which flights are missing in the ADSB data sets?

  • Do other outlier destinations pose any significance? These include:

    • Salt Lake City, Utah - March 3 & 4, 2016

    • Mountain View, California - April 8, 2016

    • Bratislava, Slovakia - November 7, 2018

    • Newark, New Jersey - March 27, 2017

    • Geneva, Switzerland - July 7, 2017

    • London, United Kingdom - January 23, 2018

    • Rabat, Morocco - April 6, 2017 & April 25, 2019

    • Strasbourg, France - February 24, 2016

    • Vienna, Austria - March 22, 2019

    • Zurich, Switzerland - February 23, 2017

Methodology

In order to focus on the possible movements of Jeffrey Epstein, I omitted flights that appear to be related to long-term periods of downtime or trips to maintenance facilities. I also omit flights that are related to apparent unrecorded departures: Instances where an aircraft appears to land at one airport, but takes off from a different one on the subsequent flight track. In order to more clearly identify travel patterns, I created tables and charts based on metadata culled from the ADSBExchange and Plane Finder data sets. This report doesn’t account for every flight: ADSB receiver systems may not pick up every signal due to reception problems, and the signals contain no information on passengers. A pilot also has the ability to turn off the broadcast.

Outliers: Unusual Destinations

As Business Insider reported, ADSBExchange data were inconclusive as to the final destination of a notable flight to the Middle East, coinciding with Election Day 2016. While the ADSBExchange flight track dropped out near the Jordan-Saudi Arabia border and picked up near the Sinai Peninsula two days later, Plane Finder data show the aircraft landing at King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on November 7, 2016 and departing on November 9, 2016. Of the 345 flights I examined, it was one of a small number of outlier destinations, and the only instance of a flight to the Middle East.

Tucson was another notable outlier. As Kate Briquelet reported for The Daily Beast in April, Jeffrey Epstein donated $50,000 to the University of Arizona. The event that he funded, The University of Arizona-led 2017 Science of Consciousness Conference, took place in San Diego (La Jolla) between June 5-10, 2017. Epstein’s Gulfstream G-IV private jet landed in San Diego on June 7, 2017, departing on June 9, 2017. Between August 2015-July 2019, an Epstein-owned jet was spotted in Tucson, home of the University of Arizona Center for Consciousness Studies, which runs the conference), three times: February 26, 2017, August 15, 2017 and May 27, 2019.

Another set of unusual flights involved Salt Lake City. On March 3, 2016 N212JE left New York City, stopping in Salt Lake City for thirty minutes, on its way to northern New Mexico. Jeffrey Epstein’s “Zorro Ranch” is in northern New Mexico, 30 miles northeast of Albuquerque. One day later, on March 4, 2016, N212JE flew back to Salt Lake City (remaining for one hour), on its return to New York City.

Notes

Some of the flights included in this report were previously noted by the Twitter user @MacFinn44. He periodically reports on Epstein’s aircraft, among other high-profile private jet owners, and contributed tips for navigating the Plane Finder data set. Twitter users @CivMilAir, @Gerjon_ and @GDarkconrad are excellent sources of ADSB flight tracking reports. I’ll add additional screenshots to this report in the future.

Screenshots, Charts and Tables

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