Aircraft

Boom unveils XB-1 supersonic passenger plane prototype

Boom unveils XB-1 supersonic p...
Artist's concept of the Boom XB-1 prototype demonstrator
Artist's concept of the Boom XB-1 prototype demonstrator
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Artist's concept of the Boom supersonic passenger jet
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Artist's concept of the Boom supersonic passenger jet
Interior of the Boom supersonic passenger jet
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Interior of the Boom supersonic passenger jet
Artist's concept of the Boom XB-1 prototype demonstrator
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Artist's concept of the Boom XB-1 prototype demonstrator
The XB-1 is smaller than the production aircraft, but it is technically representative and shares the same distinct chine blending into the fuselage followed by the swept delta wings
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The XB-1 is smaller than the production aircraft, but it is technically representative and shares the same distinct chine blending into the fuselage followed by the swept delta wings

In news that brings hope to those who still look wistfully back to the glory days of Concorde, aviation startup Boom Technology today announced its XB-1 Supersonic Demonstrator. Nicknamed Baby Boom, the one-third scale prototype of the company's planned Boom passenger liner is designed to test the technologies for 21st century commercial supersonic flight.

The aircraft will go on display this evening at the company's Hangar 14 at Centennial Airport in Denver, Colorado, before an invited gathering of airline and aerospace executives and the news media. Though the XB-1 is noticeably smaller than the production aircraft, it is technically representative and shares the same distinct chine blending into the fuselage followed by the swept delta wings.

The XB-1 includes three General Electric J85-21 non-afterburning engines with proprietary variable-geometry intake and exhaust, Honeywell avionics, and carbon composite materials. Boom says the aircraft's design is based on lessons learned from the building and operation of the Franco-British Concorde, and the design team includes veterans from NASA, SpaceX, and Boeing.

The XB-1 is smaller than the production aircraft, but it is technically representative and shares the same distinct chine blending into the fuselage followed by the swept delta wings
The XB-1 is smaller than the production aircraft, but it is technically representative and shares the same distinct chine blending into the fuselage followed by the swept delta wings

Thanks to doing away with the need for an afterburner, Boom claims the XB-1 will be more efficient than Concorde and will fly ten percent faster, with a cruising speed of Mach 2.2 (1,451 mph, 2,335 km/h) – 2.6 times faster than conventional subsonic airliners.

Designed to carry a crew of two plus an optional test flight engineer, the prototype has a wingspan of 17 ft (5 m), a takeoff weight of 13,500 lb (6,100 kg), and a range of over 1,000 nm (1,150 mi, 1,852 km). In contrast, the production Boom airliner will have a wingspan of 60 ft (18 m), carry a crew of up to six plus up to 55 passengers, and have a range of 9,000 nm (10,300 mi, 16,700 km).

Boom says the first flight of the XB-1 is slated for late next year, with subsonic flights taking off east of Denver airspace and supersonic tests to be conducted near Edwards Air Force Base, California, in conjunction with Virgin Galactic.

Interior of the Boom supersonic passenger jet
Interior of the Boom supersonic passenger jet

"I have long been passionate about aerospace innovation and the development of high-speed commercial flights," says Sir Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group. "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 air frames. 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."

Check out the video below discussing some of the innovations Boom have developed for the XB-1:

Source: Boom

9 comments
watersworm
OK OK any idea of the direct operating costs of the 55 (only ?) passenger commercialized version ? Noise print ?
David Evans
Other sources say the 9,000 nm range is with in-flight refueling, 4,500 nm without. That's going to put up the costs considerably, I would think, with at least one tanker flight to support each revenue flight.
guzmanchinky
Very cool, but doesn't getting into low earth orbit make more sense to pursue?
toyhouse
Putting negatives aside for the moment, this thing is very cool. Doing some quick and sloppy math, that's just over an hour and a half from San Francisco to Hawaii. There wouldn't be time for much of anything on board except perhaps a short nap - then you're there. Next best thing to the star trek transporter. Now back to earth for me as I doubt I'll ever be able to afford a ticket. Sigh....
Augure
Another supersonic jet vaporware. For 10 years now different brands have been announcing their sonic jet slated for 201Xs, has ONE flown yet? NONE. Disappointed, and probably too expensively impracticable anyway until they figure out less costly fuel tech.
Timelord
They should put the XB-1 into production. I'm sure there are many well-heeled pilots out there who would love to buy one. Although one might ask, "Does it come in black?"
Nygaard
@Guzmanchinky Make more sense for who? I also think your comment is a little naive. I am sure you know, but probably didn't think of it at that time, many different companies are working on hundreds of thousands of tech each somewhat unique in its own right and some more than others. We can't and shouldn't have everyone in aerospace working on the same goal. Personally I think they are going to have a very hard time selling this to any major airlines, 55 people just isn't enough I don't think, but I'm probably wrong. One more thing about your comment it reminds me so much of when I would pull over speeders or arrest someone on charges that were not really very serious it would more often than not come up "Why don't you go and catch some real criminals rapists and killers". Where are they I'll go get them right now! We, as people, can work on a lot more than one problem at a time.
arqiduka
Mach 2.2 with no afterburner? That'd be a breakthrough.
Ralf Biernacki
1.5 hours from SF to Hawaii would be great. . . if you didn't have to come to the airport 2 hours ahead of time in order to stand in line in your socks to have your stuff inspected by goons.