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The return of supersonic flight: Introducing XB-1

written by Hannah Dowling | October 8, 2020

An innovative and independent new aviation company has unveiled its new demonstrator supersonic passenger jet, the Boom XB-1.

Since the fall of the Concorde in 2003, a number of companies have tried to reinvigorate supersonic passenger travel.

But now, Denver-based company Boom Supersonic has officially introduced its new XB-1, the first supersonic passenger aircraft to be rolled out in the last half-century.XB-1

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Affectionately dubbed the ‘Baby Boom’, XB-1 is a one-third scale demonstrator model of the company’s full size supersonic airliner – Boom Overture. 

XB-1 has a 26-metre-long fuselage, a carbon-composite airframe and three GE-designed J85-15 engines. 

It also has a wingspan of 5.2 metres, and an “ergonomically designed” cockpit that places the comfort of the pilots at the forefront.

While the XB-1 will only have a range of around 1,000 nautical miles, it is intended to only be used as a testbed for Boom’s supersonic technologies that will eventually be upscaled for use in the Overture.

Overture will eventually be able to fly between 65 and 88 passengers across the Atlantic in about three-and-a-half hours.

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The XB-1’s first flight is targeted for the second half of 2021, with the full-sized Overture aircraft expected to be entered into service by the end of the decade.

With the benefit of 21st century technology, these new supersonic jets are set to be both quieter and more fuel efficient than the iconic Concorde, as it battles to meet current-day standards for aircraft noise pollution and carbon emissions.

Boom has said that XB-1 will undergo a carbon-neutral flight test program, which is to start next year in Mojave, California.

Boom was founded in 2014 by current chief executive Blake Scholl, and has been largely funded by investment from venture funds and Japan Airlines. 

The company has already seen interest in orders from Japan Airlines and Virgin Group, according to Scholl.

He also said that despite the COVID-19 crisis, he expects the aviation market to rebound by the time Overture comes to market.

5 Comments

  • NICHOLAS

    says:

    my hair will grow back first…..

  • OVTraveller

    says:

    For Australian or NZ airline companies to become interested, the proposed craft must have sufficient range to either make Asian destinations like Singapore or current Middle Eastern hubs. If the proposed craft can do that and thus significantly reduce flight times, it may well be the answer for most business travellers.

  • Jabiru Joe

    says:

    A return to Concord style travel. Undoubtably the prettiest plane ever to grace the skies. It was a confluence of events that shut it down as on the day it recieved its final approval to recommence service, the towers came down and passengers for all types of flying evaporated. One can only wish the gods will smile a little more kindly on these guys than on the Concord.

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