Supersonic Air Travel: Boom XB-1 Demonstrator Flies For The First Time

Supersonic Air Travel: Boom XB-1 Demonstrator Flies For The First Time
Xb-1 in flight over the Mojave Desert. (Photo: Boom Supersonic)

Aviation startup Boom Supersonic achieved a significant milestone in its mission to revive commercial supersonic travel, as its prototype aircraft, the XB-1, completed its inaugural flight.

The XB-1, also referred to as the “Baby Boom,” constitutes a one-third-scale technology demonstrator of the larger 55-seat supersonic airliner design known as Overture.

The XB-1 took off Thursday at 7:28AM PT, and reached a maximum altitude of 7,120 feet, and a top speed of 246 knots (283 mph). It landed 12 minutes later at 7:40 AM.

The short, subsonic flight over the Mojave Desert came years later than expected, but it shows that Boom is at least still making progress.

A video was released by Boom, showing XB-1 during takeoff as well as flying above the desert landscape. That same airspace over “Test Flight Valley” has hosted many historic first flights in the past — including Bell’s X-1, the North American X-15, and the Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird.

The aircraft was flown by Chief Test Pilot Bill “Doc” Shoemaker, while Test Pilot Tristan “Geppetto” Brandenburg flew the T-38 chase aircraft which monitored XB-1 in the air, observing how the aircraft was handling and verifying its flight data and airworthiness

Boom’s overall mission is to launch Overture, the first supersonic commercial aircraft since the Concorde ended operations 20 years ago.

The company has secured contracts with major airlines like American and United, as well as manufacturing and development partnerships with Florida Turbine Technologies and GE Additive.

Boom’s demonstrator aircraft, originally scheduled to fly in 2017, relies on a trio of 1950s-era J85 turbojet engines, the sorts used to power vintage aircraft like the Northrop T-38 trainer or F-5 fighter. 

Overture, Boom’s full-size supersonic commercial airliner, will use four of the company’s own engines, which are still under development and will be called Symphony. 

Overture will be long 201 ft (about 61 m), all-composite, propelled by four engines, with a max range of 4,250 nm. The engine, also being developed by Boom, is called Symphony and is a turbofan capable of providing 35,000 lb of thrust, produced also with the help of additive manufacturing.

Check Also

Russia Paints Fake Fighter Jets To Confuse Ukrainian Strikes

Russia Paints Fake Fighter Jets To Confuse Ukrainian Strikes

Credits: Planet Labs PBC Introduction: Recent satellite images have exposed Russia’s latest deceptive strategy in …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *