Though it has been more than 50 years since the world’s first supersonic airliner took its first flight, the technology in the field has continued to develop and advance. Now, as many prominent tech companies such as Virgin Galactic and Aerion Corporation begin to turn their attention to supersonic flight once again, we have a brand new first. A start-up company called Boom Supersonic has developed the world’s first independently developed supersonic aircraft, the supersonic XB-1.
The supersonic XB-1, affectionately nicknamed Baby Boom, is 71 feet long and is 1:3 the scale of the craft it is modeling. The bigger version of the jet that the company is designing, named Overture, will have a maximum speed of Mach 2.2, which would make it capable of incredibly high-speed trips. For example, it could fly from London to New York in three hours and thirty minutes or Los Angeles to Sydney in a mere eight and a half hours.
The XB-1 has a wingspan of 6.40 meters and is equipped with three J85-15 engines which were designed by General Electric. The carbon-composite airframe allows the plane to maintain its rigidity in spite of the high temperatures and stresses of supersonic flight.
The craft has also been designed with passenger’s comfort and experience in mind, boasting that they will include a fresh air supply at every seat, a touch-free experience in common areas, and large personal windows at every seat so each passenger can enjoy the stunning views. They also boast that the plane won’t include any middle seats, which means you’ll be able to avoid the dreaded armrest wrestling match.
The Overture craft will be designed to seat between 55 and 75 people and they plan to only fly at supersonic speeds over water to help avoid the noise pollution of supersonic booms on populated areas.
But what sets Boom apart from other companies who are working to bring supersonic flight to consumers is that Boom is focused on making it accessible for everyone, not just the extremely wealthy. Blake Scholl, founder and CEO of Boom Supersonic, stated in an interview with CNN, “I think there’s a consensus in the industry that there’s going to be a supersonic renaissance and the time is now. What differentiates Boom is we are looking to make the most mainstream, most affordable supersonic aircraft possible…So we get up every day and we say, ‘how can we make supersonic travel as available to as many people as possible?’ How do we ultimately make the fastest flight also the cheapest flight?”