LONDON – Earlier this month, Airways got the opportunity to speak with BOOM Supersonic regarding its XB-1 and Overture programs.
The proposed programs will cut flight times substantially with a few examples being:
- Los Angeles to Sydney – Eight hours and thirty minutes instead of fourteen hours and thirty minutes.
- New York to London – Three hours and thirty minutes instead of six hours and thirty minutes.
- San Francisco to Tokyo – Six hours instead of ten hours and fifteen minutes.
A company spokesperson at Boom Supersonic answered seven of our questions.
Q: For those that don’t know about the company, tell us about Boom Supersonic.
“Boom Supersonic is redefining what it means to fly by building Overture, the world’s fastest airliner.
The world is better off when families can spend more time together, and businesses have more opportunities to succeed in our global economy.
This means world leaders can foster greater understanding in person.
By leveraging the transformative power of supersonic air travel and speeds twice as fast, Boom is removing the barriers to experiencing the planet and making the world dramatically more accessible.”
Q: What can BOOM offer in comparison to Concorde?
“We’re designing the end-to-end passenger experience to provide a tranquil and stress-free journey from the moment you step aboard Overture.
Imagine a large personal window, direct aisle access, and dedicated underseat storage.
We are also exploring innovations to enhance health, safety, and comfort for passengers.
Supersonic aircraft also fly higher than existing airliners, cruising at up to 60,000 feet.
At this altitude, you fly above most of the turbulence, allowing a smoother ride than on subsonic aircraft.
Looking out your window, you will see the darkness of space above you and the curvature of the Earth below.
Concorde used afterburners for takeoff and to break through the high-drag sonic barrier.
Thanks to five decades of technological progress in propulsion design, Overture will be able to perform all phases of flight, from takeoff through supersonic speeds, without afterburners.
Overture won’t generate a sonic boom over land cruising at subsonic speeds.
Its passengers won’t even notice breaking through the “sound barrier,” which will be inaudible and uneventful.
On Concorde, announcements were made and champagne was served to celebrate the moment, which otherwise would have gone unnoticed.
There will be no increase to existing noise contours.
Overture will have the latest noise-reducing technologies.
Boom is designing Overture with noise-sensitive communities in mind, and Overture will be a ‘good neighbor’ to people living and working near airports.
The overall noise footprint of Overture will be similar to the quietest long-haul aircraft it replaces.
Overture will also be one of the first aircraft designed for a post-pandemic world.
These considerations could include increased air flow and circulation, and naturally isolated seating configurations.”
Q: During times of COVID-19, how confident is Boom about its sales strategy?
“While COVID-19 has had far-reaching implications for the aviation industry, it has reinforced and reminded us that nothing quite replaces the ability to be with others.
By leveraging the transformative power of supersonic air travel and speeds twice as fast, Boom is removing the barriers to experiencing the planet and making the world dramatically more accessible.
We are committed now more than ever to our mission.”
Q: What is the target for the firm within the next 10 years?
“Boom is currently progressing through the conceptual design phase of Overture.
The certification program will involve five flight test aircraft with expected rollout in 2025 and completion of type certification in 2029.
Boom expects to fly its first Overture passengers before the end of the decade.”
Q: Any prospective customers interested?
“Boom has pre-orders from Japan Airlines (20 aircraft) and Virgin Group (10 aircraft).
Airlines flying long, transoceanic routes compete fiercely to differentiate themselves from the competition.
Offering supersonic service gives airlines a demonstrably superior product: flights twice as fast.”
Q: A lot of problems with Concorde focused on the cost. How will Boom be cost-effective to carriers?
“By improving efficiency over Concorde’s half-century-old airframe and engines, Overture will reduce operating costs to turn a profit at business-class fare levels that the market already supports.
With fewer seats than today’s widebody aircraft, Overture will maintain capacity utilization.
Boom is leveraging scientific advancements in aerodynamics, materials, and propulsion that will enable efficient and profitable supersonic travel.”
Q: Is there anything Boom would like to say regarding the program for our readers?
“Historically, supersonic flight has not been economical enough for routine commercial operations.
Today, we finally have the technology for efficient, economical, and safe supersonic flight.
Key advancements, such as composite fuselages and high-temperature material systems, have only recently been accepted by the FAA for use on commercial aircraft.
With XB-1, Boom is demonstrating that it is prepared to bring back supersonic.
As the world’s first independently developed supersonic jet, XB-1 is paving the way for a supersonic future that is safe, and environmentally and economically sustainable.
XB-1 will roll out on October 7, 2020 and begin flight testing in 2021.
XB-1’s final assembly and flight test program leads the way for Overture development, by providing continual learning for the program.”
It remains very clear that BOOM, irrespective of a global pandemic or other short-comings, is very much determined to make this program a reality.
Whilst completion of type certification is not for another nine years, it is the theme of thinking about the future which is so important to the business model.
As flight testing commences next year, all eyes will be on BOOM to determine whether we can make supersonic travel a reality once again.
Featured Image: Overture seen nose on. Photo Credits: BOOM Supersonic