Start-up unveils project for supersonic jet slated for commercial flights
While the aviation sector is currently at its worst due to the coronavirus pandemic, aircraft manufacturers and designers are not twiddling their thumbs either. This forced break sheds light on innovative aircraft concepts, as well as what the future of aviation could look like. In addition to devices powered by hydrogen , supersonic planes are still the order of the day today. The American start-up Boom Supersonic has also just lifted the veil on its XB-1 demonstrator, the prototype of its supersonic jet with a length of about twenty meters.
The first flights of the XB-1 demonstrator are scheduled for the third quarter of 2021. Boom Supersonic hopes to reach a speed of Mach 1.3, or 1,600 km / h, with the latter.
The XB-1 is actually the prototype of a larger model that is expected to take off in 2029, if all goes according to plan. The start-up aims to develop one of the first supersonic commercial aircraft. For now, the reduced model can only accommodate the pilot, but eventually, in its commercial version, the jet should be able to carry up to 88 passengers.
A long-term project
The project does not actually date from yesterday since the start-up had already unveiled the plans for the XB-1 in 2016. At the time , Boom Supersonic indicated that the first test flights would be made in 2017. It also provided for to transport its first passengers from 2020. A schedule that the American company has not managed to meet. In the end, his supersonic aircraft project will be a decade behind schedule, at best.
In parallel with the XB-1 tests, Boom Supersonic will continue to develop its full-size commercial supersonic aircraft which should be presented in 2025. It will be 60 meters long and will be able to carry between 65 and 88 passengers. Supersonic, it will fly at twice the speed of current commercial aircraft. The start-up ensures that its plane will be able to reach London – New York in just 3 and a half hours, or in half the time than it currently takes.
Beyond the technological challenges, Boom Supersonic will also have to make sure to avoid the faults of the Concorde, the only supersonic commercial aircraft to date which retired in 2003. Supersonic planes indeed emit a huge noise when they cross the sound barrier. This is also why the United States banned this type of aircraft in 1973. In 2018, President Trump signed a bill to lift this ban, so that supersonic aircraft projects have exploded in the country.