Over 50 years after Concorde first took to the skies, a brand new supersonic jet is preparing for lift off.
Denver based start-up Boom Supersonic has announced it will roll out XB-1, a 1:3 scale prototype of its upcoming supersonic commercial jet Overture, on October 7, with test flights beginning in 2021.
A rendering of supersonic commercial jet Overture, which is currently in development. (Boom Supersonic)
The move will help to pave the way for the first commercial supersonic flights since the legendary delta-wing passenger airliner made its last flight in 2003.
“XB-1 is the first step in bringing supersonic travel back to the world,” Blake Scholl, founder and CEO of Boom Supersonic, said in a statement on the company’s website.
Supersonic flight revival
“Flights at twice the speed mean we can travel twice as far – bringing more people, places, and cultures into our lives.”
According to Boom, the purpose of XB-1 is to demonstrate and prove the “key technologies” for Overture, such as advanced carbon fibre composite construction and computer-optimised high-efficiency aerodynamics.
The company has also released images of the experimental aircraft, described as “history’s fastest privately developed aircraft”, in the hangar, including the completion of its wing installation.
Over 50 years after Concorde first took to the skies, a brand new supersonic jet is preparing for lift-off. (Boom Supersonic)
“Our experiences in the COVID-19 pandemic underscore for all of us the fundamental human need for personal connection,” Mr Scholl said.
“Faster travel enables us to experience the world’s people, cultures, and places.
“With XB-1, we’re demonstrating that we are prepared to bring back supersonic.”
The results of the XB-1 test program, which claims to be 100 per cent carbon neutral, will allow the company to fine tune the design for supersonic airliner Overture.
‘Demand has grown’
“We’re ensuring that the supersonic future is safe and environmentally and economically sustainable,” he added.
“We’ve learned that the demand for supersonic has grown even faster than we anticipated.”
Before the pandemic, Boom had garnered at least US$6 billion worth of pre-orders for the aircraft, which has a price tag of $200 million, with buyers included Virgin Group and Japan Airlines, which invested $10 million in the company in 2017.
Boom Supersonic’s experimental aircraft XB-1 will roll out in October, with a test program beginning next year. (Boom Supersonic)
If all goes to plan, Overture, which is designed to seat between 55 to 75 people, will begin passenger flights in 2030.
It will focus on over 500 primarily transoceanic routes that will benefit from the aircraft’s Mach-2.2 speeds – such as New York to London, a journey that would take just three hours and 15 minutes.
The aircraft has been designed with the latest noise-reducing technologies and will only fly at supersonic speeds while over oceans to ensure that populated areas are not affected by sonic booms.
Boom isn’t the only company attempting to bring supersonic flights back.
Aerion Corporation is currently developing a passenger AS2 supersonic jet, which can hold up to 12 passengers, at its headquarters in Reno, Nevada.