Aviation

Meet ‘Baby Boom’, the demonstrator for the world’s fastest airliner

Christian Fleetwood

Christian Fleetwood

Amid grim days for aviation, the aerospace company building the world’s fastest airliner has unveiled its supersonic demonstrator, the XB-1.

Last week, Boom Supersonic unveiled to the world a glimmer of hope with the XB-1 on the virtual stage, making history as the first-ever independently developed supersonic aircraft, alongside marking a massive step towards Boom’s ambition to create a commercial supersonic airliner.

Also known as the ‘Baby Boom’, the 71-foot-long prototype is a 1:3 scale version of Boom’s upcoming supersonic commercial jet, ‘Overture’, which is set to have a maximum speed of Mach 2.2.

According to CNN Travel, this would make the supersonic jet capable of flying London to New York (approximately 5,585 kilometres) in an astonishing three hours and 30 minutes.

It comes more than 50 years after the world’s first supersonic airliner took its first flight, and amid aviation’s most challenging climate of the coronavirus crisis.

But despite that, Boom Supersonic is still aiming to commit to a carbon-neutral flight test program, to build sustainability into its entire aircraft program, and to have the XB-1 in the skies in 2021.

Image source: YouTube/Boom Supersonic

“Boom continues to make progress towards our founding mission—making the world dramatically more accessible,” Boom Supersonic founder and CEO Blake Scholl said.

“XB-1 is an important milestone towards the development of our commercial airliner, Overture, making sustainable supersonic flight mainstream and fostering human connection.”

To design and build the XB-1, Boom said it recruited a team of experts from around the industry, forged relationships with key suppliers, and built a strong safety culture.

The XB-1, which is made from a carbon-composite airframe and equipped with three J85-15 engines that provide more than 12,000 pounds of thrust, is slated to fly for the first time in 2021 and will undergo a 100 per cent carbon-neutral flight test program.

Boom’s innovations include developing what it describes as one of the highest-efficiency civil supersonic engine intakes ever tested, which the company said demonstrates its ability to deliver a breakthrough in propulsive efficiency for Overture.

But alongside the news that the aircraft is out of the concept phase and well on track for testing came a video of the aircraft being assembled, with insights from Scholl and the team behind XB-1.

Additionally, Boom shared the virtual presentation stage with a number of aerospace leaders, Boom partners and investors. These guests discussed the supersonic future, XB-1, and their excitement for Overture.

To view the full 45-minute reveal of Boom’s XB-1, check out the video below:


Featured image source: Boom Supersonic

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