On October 24, 2003, Concorde embarked on its final commercial flight — from New York JFK to London Heathrow — before the supersonic aircraft was put into retirement after 27 years of service.
Up until now, no other supersonic passenger jet has been created to take the place of Concorde, though a company called Boom Supersonic has set its sights on doing just that.
Colorado-based Boom has announced an unveiling date for the XB-1 aircraft that will demonstrate key technologies for the final design of its proposed Overture supersonic passenger jet.
The virtual rollout event will take place on October 7 and offer a first proper look at the completed demonstrator aircraft, which is a third of the size of Overture’s planned dimensions. Presentations from the team that designed and built the aircraft will also take place during the event.
The airplane will feature a carbon fiber composite construction, computer-optimized high-efficiency aerodynamics, and an efficient supersonic propulsion system. This enables it to be kinder to the environment, with maximized fuel efficiency using engines that can accommodate sustainable aviation fuels, and minimal noise levels.
“XB-1 is the end product of years of development effort, including multiple wind tunnel tests, dozens of structural tests, hundreds of simulation iterations, and tens of thousands of work hours,” the company said.
XB-1 will begin its test program later this year and is expected to take its first flight in 2021. Once the team is happy with its performance, it will move toward building the first Overture supersonic aircraft for commercial passenger services.
Overture will seat up to 75 people and reach speeds of Mach-2.2 — almost 1,700 mph, or more than twice the speed of sound. Around 30 pre-orders have already been made by airlines around the world, and if its development continues on track, commercial services using Overture could begin in 2030.
Boom, which started out in 2014 and has received backing from Richard Branson’s Virgin Group, among others, says it has assembled a team of more than 140 people who together have contributed to more than 220 air and spacecraft programs.
“With XB-1, we’re demonstrating that we are prepared to bring back supersonic,” said Blake Scholl, Boom founder and CEO, adding, “We’re ensuring that the supersonic future is safe and environmentally and economically sustainable.”
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