Aviation company Boom Supersonic, the company building the world’s fastest airliner, Overture, is building the world’s first independently developed supersonic jet, XB-1, the company’s technology demonstrator aircraft. The new airline will support next-generation aviation technology with elements such as carbon fiber composites, advanced avionics, and digitally-optimized aerodynamics to enable sustainable supersonic travel.
The aircraft boasts some impressive features — more than 21 meters in length and three General Electric J85 engines that produce a combined maximum thrust of 12,300 pounds of force (lbf).
Earlier this year, XB-1 was moved from the company’s hangar in Centennial, Colorado to the Mojave Air & Space Port in Mojave, California to continue preparations for flight. The aircraft has undergone extensive ground testing since arriving, including taxi testing last week.
“The recent progress made towards XB-1’s first flight reflects the team’s collective efforts to build and safely fly the world’s first independently developed supersonic jet,” said Blake Scholl, Boom Supersonic’s founder and CEO.
In addition to the ongoing testing, XB-1 recently received an experimental airworthiness certificate from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), following a detailed aircraft inspection.
XB-1’s historic first flight will occur in the same airspace where Captain Charles “Chuck” Yeager first broke the sound barrier in the Bell X-1 and the Mach 3+, strategic reconnaissance SR-71 “Blackbird” first flew in 1964, the airspace company recalls in a press statement.
“It’s fitting that XB-1 is now progressing toward first flight at the Mojave Air & Space Port, home to more than 50 first flights and other significant aviation events,” said Bill “Doc” Shoemaker, Chief Test Pilot for Boom Supersonic. “I’m looking forward to flying XB-1 here, building on the achievements of other talented engineers and pilots who inspire us every day to make supersonic travel mainstream.”
XB-1 has validated Boom’s approach to airplane design and enabled engineers to leverage advanced tools like computational fluid dynamics (CFD) which are critical components of Overture’s development. Overture is the sustainable supersonic airliner from Boom that will fly at about twice the speed of today’s fastest airliners, and is designed to run on 100% sustainable aviation fuel (SAF).
The company said it has secured SAF offtake agreements from Dimensional Energy and Air Company, bringing its total to 10 million gallons of SAF per year. Moreover, the upcoming jet already received orders and pre-orders from American Airlines, United Airlines, and Japan Airlines, standing at 130 aircraft.