Written by: Mark Elliott
AddThis Sharing ButtonsCould this be the future of air travel? A US company has unveiled its plans for a new supersonic aircraft, allowing passengers to travel at the speed of sound for the first time since Concorde.
On 15 November 2016, Boom Technology revealed its XB-1 Supersonic Demonstrator – a subscale prototype of the planned Boom supersonic passenger airliner. On display for the first time at Centennial Airport in Colorado, the XB-1, nicknamed “Baby Boom”, will be fastest civil aircraft ever made.
XB-1 is expected to take to the skies in late 2017
The company says the new aircraft will usher in a new era of “affordable supersonic travel”, and Virgin founder Sir Richard Branson has already secured the option to buy Boom’s aircraft.
“Sixty years after the dawn of the jet age, we’re still flying at 1960s speeds,” lamented Blake Scholl, founder & CEO of Boom. “Concorde’s designers didn’t have the technology for affordable supersonic travel, but now we do. Today, we’re proud to unveil our first aircraft as we look forward to first flight late next year.”
Baby Boom’s first flight is planned for late 2017. Subsonic flight tests will be conducted in the skies east of Denver, before the company moves to supersonic test flights in southern California, in partnership with Virgin Galactic.
“I have long been passionate about aerospace innovation and the development of high-speed commercial flights,” said Sir Richard Branson. “As an innovator in the space, Virgin Galactic’s decision to work with Boom was an easy one. We’re excited to have an option on Boom’s first 10 airframes.
The new aircraft will have 45 seats
“Through Virgin Galactic’s manufacturing arm, The Spaceship Company, we will provide engineering and manufacturing services, along with flight test support and operations as part of our shared ambitions.”
The Boom supersonic jet will become the fastest civil aircraft in history, with a cruising speed of Mach 2.2 (2,335kph) making them 10% faster than Concorde and 2.6 times faster than other commercial aircraft. According to the company, the aircraft will also offer “a smoother ride with less turbulence”.
Each aircraft will have a capacity of 45 passengers and six crew – two pilots and four flight attendants. There will be one seat on each side of the cabin, giving all passengers both aisle and window access.
“The Boom airliner will be a core part of the intercontinental airline fleet,” said Mike Boyd of Boyd Group International. “Travellers are hungry for faster flights and airlines will be excited for a differentiated and profitable option for their premium travellers.”