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The first independently developed supersonic aircraft is here!

16 October 2020

Boom Supersonic, the aerospace company building the world’s fastest airliner, unveils its supersonic demonstrator, XB-1 – history’s first independently developed supersonic jet.

Image courtesy of Boom Supersonic

To design and build XB-1, Boom recruited a team of experts from around the industry, forged relationships with key suppliers, and built a strong safety culture. XB-1 is scheduled to fly for the first time in 2021 and will undergo a 100% carbon-neutral flight test program. Boom’s innovations include developing one of the highest-efficiency civil supersonic engine intakes ever tested, demonstrating Boom’s ability to deliver a breakthrough in propulsive efficiency for Overture. 

“Boom continues to make progress towards our founding mission – making the world dramatically more accessible,” said Blake Scholl, Boom founder and CEO. “XB-1 is an important milestone towards the development of our commercial airliner, Overture, making sustainable supersonic flight mainstream and fostering human connection.” 

On Oct 7, at 11AM MDT, the world saw the XB-1 fully assembled for the first time and heard from the team that designed, built and are currently testing the aircraft. Boom’s XB-1 virtual rollout highlighted some of XB-1’s notable features including: 

• Shape: XB-1’s 71-foot-long fuselage has been optimally shaped for high-speed aerodynamic efficiency.

Materials: The carbon-composite airframe maintains its strength and rigidity, even under the high temperatures and stresses of supersonic flight. 

• Wing: The delta wing balances low-speed stability at take-off and landing with high-speed efficiency.

• Propulsion: Three J85-15 engines, designed by General Electric, provide more than 12,000 pounds of thrust, allowing XB-1 to fly at breakthrough supersonic speeds.

• Cockpit ergonomics: Guidance and feedback from XB-1’s test pilots played a key role in cockpit design, which was the product of hundreds of hours of human factors and usability testing.

• Forward vision system: XB-1 leverages a high-resolution video camera and cockpit display to give pilots a virtual window through the nose, providing superior runway visibility for landing.

After rollout, XB-1 will complete its ongoing, extensive ground test program before heading to Mojave, California in 2021 for flight test. At the same time, the company will finalise Overture’s propulsion system and conduct wind tunnel tests to validate aircraft design. When XB-1 breaks the sound barrier in flight, Boom will be finalising the design of Overture, whose own rollout is on track for 2025.


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