The first flight of a new supersonic commercial airliner prototype took place

The first flight of a new supersonic commercial airliner prototype took place

A prototype jet aircraft independently developed by Boom Supersonic made its first flight on Friday, the company said.

The XB-1 took off from the Mojave Air and Space Port in California, reaching an altitude of 2.2 km and a maximum speed of 439 km/h. Boom Supersonic said in a press release that the first test flight of the XB-1 aircraft accomplished all of its tasks.

“The experience we’ve gained in reaching this milestone will be invaluable to Boom’s rebirth of supersonic flight,” said Bill “Doc” Shoemaker, chief test pilot for Boom Supersonic.

The XB-1 aircraft is a prototype designed to test the materials and aerodynamics of a larger commercial supersonic aircraft, which the company calls the Overture.

Boom is one of the few companies trying to revive supersonic commercial air travel since Concorde’s last flight in 2003. Its planes are expected to carry between 64 and 80 passengers at speeds that are about twice the speed of conventional commercial jets in use today. Boom says it has received 130 orders and pre-orders from American Airlines, United Airlines and Japan Airlines for the Overture, which it plans to deliver later this decade.

Boom Supersonic was founded ten years ago, in 2014. The XB-1 prototype was first unveiled in October 2020. At the time, the company said it planned to begin flight testing in the third quarter of 2021. In 2021, the world’s largest air carrier, United Airlines, signed a memorandum for the purchase of 15 Boom Supersonic civil aircraft.

One key element of the Overture aircraft that is not being tested on the XB-1 prototype is the engines. The XB-1 is equipped with three GE J85-15 turbojet engines, which have been in use for several decades. Boom Supersonic is developing a new engine for the Overture aircraft – the Symphony medium-displacement turbofan engine.

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