Boom expects first supersonic test flight this year

Boom expects first supersonic test flight this year

Supersonic startup Boom plans to begin test flights this year ahead of a commercial debut for its needle-like Overture jet in 2023.

With an array of Silicon Valley investors tipping a fresh US$100m into Boom’s bank account, the company aims to send its XB-1 demonstrator into the skies before this year is out.

Dubbed ‘Baby Boom’, the two-seater XB-1 is being built to one-third the size of the Overture and will redline at Mach 2.2, or 2,715km/h.

This will lay the foundation for the larger Overture, which will reach the same speeds – making it slightly faster than the Concorde.

This will allow the Overture to sprint between New York and London or Sydney and Hong Kong in under four hours, while longer routes such as Sydney to LA would be trimmed to around six hours.

The Boom Overture is designed to seat 55 passengers in an all-business class cabin, with a single recliner seat either side of the centre aisle.

However, airlines would also be able to order the Overture in a two-class configuration pairing 15 business class seats with 30 spacious first class suites.

Those are envisaged as offering an ottoman which provides companion dining and, if you need some shut-eye, there’s room to stretch out on a lie-flat bed.

Boom founder and CEO expects his modern tech-forward update of the Concorde to deliver airfares in line with current business class pricing while slashing travel time in half.

And the name given to this first supersonic jet is quite deliberate, as Scholl believes the Overture will be only the first in a series of aircraft which will progressively become larger, faster and more affordable for airlines and passengers alike. “The vision here is to make supersonic travel mainstream,” he says.

Key to this will be engine and being technology which reduce the sonic boom to more of a ‘thump’ – something which NASA is also working on – while also aiming to make Overture’s takeoffs and landings as quiet as conventional subsonic aircraft.

To date only two airlines have publicly backed Boom, with Japan Airlines investing $10 million and earmarking an option to buy up to 20 Overtures, while Richard Branson’s Virgin Atlantic has options for 10 more.

Read more: Can the supersonic Boom jet beat the Concorde's economics?

David Flynn
David Flynn is the editor of Australian Business Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.
 

13 comments

  • Simon Frost

    SimonFrost

    8 Jan, 2019 08:04 am

    I really hope this works out for them. It would be cool to see such a different looking aircraft getting about. Hopefully the economics work out too...!
    No member give thanks

  • Phil Young

    Phil Young

    8 Jan, 2019 08:32 am

    Those windows in the concept graphics are enormous. Compare with the tiny windows in the Concorde, which were about the size of the human hand.
    Member who gave thanks

    JKH

  • sgb

    sgb

    8 Jan, 2019 01:30 pm

    Hope those oversized passenger windows are well engineered, otherwise it could be Kaboom!!!
    Member who gave thanks

    JKH

  • StudiodeKadent

    StudiodeKadent

    8 Jan, 2019 02:26 pm

    If this turns out to be successful, it will be a huge realignment. We could essentially kiss traditional first class goodbye in many markets. Business could be split between Business Sleeper (subsonic) and Business Supersonic.
    No member give thanks

  • Jazzop

    Jazzop

    8 Jan, 2019 04:10 pm

    I too hope Boom are successful. Would disrupt the ULR focus and plans of Boeing, Airbus, Qantas etc.

    I guess the question would be, would business/first class passengers prefer to ride SYD - JFK nonstop on QF or fly on a VA Boom to LAX then transit to Delta.
    No member give thanks

  • Michel

    Ozmichel

    9 Jan, 2019 03:41 pm

    It's amazing that Qantas has not shown much interest as supersonic travel would be ideal for a country like Australia where distances to another continent are a minimum of seven hours.
    Member who gave thanks

    JKH

  • Jeffrey ONeill

    sydboy007

    9 Jan, 2019 03:52 pm

    now how to get an award seat :)
    Member who gave thanks

    rinoreynolds

  • anthony watts

    anthony watts

    9 Jan, 2019 04:22 pm

    It would effectively replace first.
    Range will be interesting; apart from the sonic boom, I understand limited range was the big problem with Concorde
    No member give thanks

  • maabbot

    maabbot

    10 Jan, 2019 01:29 am

    Can't see the economics working...but good luck to them. To get the full business yield and the right distances you need those routes just as the concorde flew. Paris and London to NYC. There simply isn't a long list and as such they wont get the economies of scale through production.
    No member give thanks

  • Jon

    walaj

    10 Jan, 2019 09:33 am

    > I understand limited range was the big problem with Concorde

    I think it was more that concorde could only go supersonic over water* eg not land - so for Sydney to Singapore where half is over Australia, this would be at subsonic speeds.

    * due to the sonicboom - which as stated Boom are trying to change to a 'thump'
    No member give thanks

  • Jon

    walaj

    10 Jan, 2019 09:40 am

    hmm - sort of answering two separate posts now, sorry for confiusion
    No member give thanks

  • Jason Hamilton

    JKH

    10 Jan, 2019 09:53 am

    Hoping this can actually work and that the economics stack up. Many of us who lived through the not-quite supersonic era will be rather faithless. The proof will be in the pudding!
    No member give thanks

  • Jason Hamilton

    JKH

    11 Jan, 2019 10:23 am

    Has aviation engineering/ tech for efficient supersonic flight really advanced that much since Concorde?
    No member give thanks

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26 Mar, 2019 02:06 pm

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