With a mission to “build a supersonic airliner anyone can afford to fly,” Boom is about to transition its XB-1 Demonstrator from the prototype phase to development. Capable of traveling at Mach 2.2 (1,451 mph), Boom’s XB-1 is 2.6 times faster than other airliners and can wrap up transatlantic trips in a single business day.
Boom’s Successful Wind Tunnel Tests
With its first flight estimated to takeoff later this year, Boom just completed over 1,000 + wind tunnel tests. The next phase: building the airframe. According to a recent interview with TechCrunch, CEO and co-founder Black Scholl reiterated the importance of getting through wind tunnel testing: “It means being able to move on to building large-scale hardware for testing with human pilots.”
Scholl talked about some of the challenges a small startup faces prior to starting the manufacturing process: “A few years ago, this kind of milestone would’ve involved repeated wind tunnel trial through multiple physical model iterations, costing millions. But today, you can do aerodynamics development in simulation, where each iteration takes 30 minutes and costs almost nothing.”
Three Hour Flights from NY to London
Boom estimates flights from New York to London costing right around $2,500 with a total travel time being right around 3 hours and 15 minutes. That essentially means you can catch a flight from JFK at 6:30 a.m., be at your London office for afternoon meetings and then travel back in time to have dinner with the family. This would revolutionize business travel, as we know it.
The XB-1 is under construction at Boom’s hanger at Centennial Airport just outside of Denver and since it’s the startups first supersonic plane, moving from wind tunnel testing to manufacturing is a rather groundbreaking event. “You go to the wind tunnel and you verify with real air and real flow that you’re seeing the results that you predicted in simulation,” Scholl said.
The XB-1 vs. The Concorde
Boom’s Demonstrator prototype is impressive, to say the least. The 45-passenger supersonic jet, considered the Tesla of the sky, has the triple threat of advanced aerodynamic design, lightweight materials, and an efficient super-cruise propulsion system. According to Boom’s website, the XB-1 Demonstrator rivals the Concorde on three distinct, but equally important aerodynamic features: an area ruled fuselage, a chine, and a refined delta wing.
Making Boom’s Airliner Affordable
Already partnered up with Virgin Galactic and armed with an estimated production date “around this time next year,” the biggest challenge is making the transatlantic supersonic flight affordable. Scholl, according to TechCrunch, wants to bring costs down to regular commercial prices, making the “ultra-fast airliner as efficient and affordable as business class in today’s subsonic wide-body airlines.”
Whether it’s Hyperloop One’s rapid transit service taking passengers from Dubai to Abu Dhabi in 12 minutes or Boom’s XB-1 Supersonic Demonstrating flying from NYC to London in just over 3 hrs, supersonic travel is poised to disrupt the entire transportation industry.