Updated: May 6, 2021
It's been 50 years since the Concorde's first flight, and supersonic enthusiasts like us are thrilled to have another supersonic jet preparing for takeoff.
Boom Supersonic, a Denver-based start-up, unveiled its XB-1 supersonic aircraft prototype on October 7 at a virtual rollout event, during which executives revealed production plans and highlighted the XB-1's design features.
This is the first independently developed suspersonic jet in history, Boom announced in its statement earlier that day.
Boom Supersonic's XB-1 demonstrator unveiled in the hangar. (Photo Courtesy Boom Supersonic)
The Denver-based company said the XB-1, a 1:3 scale demonstrator it will use to develop a future supersonic passenger aircraft called Overture, ushers in new era of supersonic flight.
“Boom continues to make progress towards our founding mission—making the world dramatically more accessible,” said founder and CEO Blake Scholl. “XB-1 is an important milestone towards the development of our commercial airliner, Overture, making sustainable supersonic flight mainstream and fostering human connection.”
This event marked the first time the general public had seen a fully-assembled XB-1. Viewers also heard from the team that designed, built and are currently testing the aircraft.
Boom recruited experts across the industry and key suppliers to design and build this historic aircraft.
Speakers at the event highlighted the elements of aircraft's carbon-composite airframe, which under high temperatures and stresses of supersonic flight maintain the aircraft's strength and rigidity.
The optimally shaped 71-foot-long fuselage and delta wing design ensure high-speed aerodynamic efficiency while balancing low-speed stability on takeoff and landing.
The cockpit, a "product of hundreds of hours of human factors and usability testing" will feature a high-resolution video camera and cockpit display to give the pilots a virtual window through the nose to see the runway for landing.
The aircraft will also undergo a 100-percent carbon-neutral flight test program. Boom has developed one of the highest-efficiency civil supersonic engine intakes ever tested, showing promise to deliver a breakthrough in propulsive efficiency for Overture.
Its three J85-15 engines, designed by General Electric, provide more than 12,000 pounds of thrust, "allowing XB-1 to fly at breakthrough supersonic speeds", according to the statement.
(Photo Courtesy Boom Supersonic)
The company said it has built a "strong safety culture" among the aircraft's development team, and the XB-1 should fly for the first time in 2021.
"Our experiences in the Covid-19 pandemic underscore for all of us the fundamental human need for personal connection," says Scholl. "Flights at twice the speed mean we can travel twice as far -- bringing more people, places, and cultures into our lives."
Catch us with our eyes turned to the sky and our ears perked for sonic booms until we can book those supersonic tickets!