Return of Supersonic flights; US-based Boom showcases its prototype aircraft

By Rahul Vaimal, Associate Editor
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Boom Supersonic XB-1
Boom Supersonic XB-1 Image

In a breakthrough for the US start-up planning a commercial airliner that can defeat the sound barrier, Boom Supersonic revealed its first demonstrator aircraft, XB-1, which is expected to commence flight testing next year.

The company that was founded to develop supersonic passenger aircraft carried out a virtual video presentation showcasing the shining new jet in a gathering which featured some of the company’s high-profile investors, representation from military and former NASA administrators.

Boom, based in Denver, said in a statement that XB-1 will undergo a carbon-neutral flight test plan that will launch in California next year.

According to the statement, XB-1 has a fuselage 71 feet long (21.6 meters), a carbon-composite airframe and three J85-15 engines built by General Electric.

Boom Chief Executive Blake Scholl said, “The initial takeoff of the aircraft is scheduled in the second half of 2021, with the company’s supersonic airliner Overture intended to begin service by the end of the decade”.

Priced at business class fares, Overture, the firm’s supersonic airliner with 65 to 88 seats, will cut transatlantic travel time in half to around three-and-a-half hours. Boom claims it has already acquired orders from Japan Airlines and Virgin Group.

Mr. Scholl added that he expects the aviation market, hit hard by the pandemic coronavirus, to recover by the time Overture enters the market.

“The nice thing about supersonic jets is if you’re concerned about time on airplanes, less time is better,” he said.

As per the company’s website, Mr. Scholl developed Boom in 2014 after serving in administration posts at Amazon and Groupon. As the federal talks on how to allow domestic, over-land flights continue Boom is also working on sonic boom-mitigation technology.