Boom XB-1 supersonic jet approved to break sound barrier

Boom Supersonic’s XB-1 test jet has gained Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) approval for supersonic flight, marking a significant milestone for the company. Scheduled for later this year at the Black Mountain Supersonic Corridor in Mojave, CA, these tests aim to validate critical aspects of the design such as fuel efficiency, speeds, and flight characteristics.

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Blake Scholl, founder and CEO of Boom Supersonic, expressed anticipation for the upcoming historic supersonic flight following the XB-1’s successful maiden voyage. Scholl extended gratitude to the FAA for fostering innovation and facilitating XB-1’s pivotal role in shaping the future of supersonic travel.

The recent approval comes shortly after a triumphant subsonic test flight conducted by a pair of test pilots. Preceded by a meticulous review and environmental assessment, the FAA approval necessitates a chase plane to accompany the XB-1, tasked with monitoring and recording flight safety measures.

Boom Supersonic plans to execute 10-20 flights before attempting to surpass the speed of sound. During this phase, they will progressively expand the flight envelope to validate performance and handling characteristics, while conducting thorough in-flight system checks and ensuring a safe margin to flutter and vibration limits. Notably, test pilot Tristan “Geppetto” Brandenberg will helm the controls for the inaugural supersonic flight.

While passenger flights remain on the distant horizon, the XB-1 serves as a precursor to Boom’s ambitious commercial airliner, Overture. Designed to accommodate fewer than 100 passengers at “business class” comfort levels, Overture aims to revolutionize air travel with rapid transcontinental journeys, such as Tokyo to Seattle in just four hours and thirty minutes.

Despite encountering setbacks, including delays in test plans and a split with original engine manufacturer Rolls-Royce, Boom Supersonic has persevered. Teaming up with FTT, they developed the custom “Symphony” jet engine. With orders from major carriers like American Airlines and United Airlines, Boom Supersonic is poised to reshape the future of aviation. While NASA works on its X-59 supersonic jet with a reduced sonic footprint, Boom Supersonic’s strategy for mitigating the iconic sonic boom remains a subject of interest and speculation.