This startup is building the world’s next supersonic jet

Oct 10, 2020

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When you think of supersonic jet travel, visions of hurtling through the sky at thousands of miles an hour may seem farfetched.

But a start-up, Boom Technologies, hopes to reimagine supersonic jet travel. The company recently unveiled its fully-functional prototype plane. According to Boom, XB-1 is nearly 71 feet in length and, at supersonic speed, the aircraft exterior can reach temperatures up to 260°F. XB-1’s fuselage can withstand temperatures exceeding 300°F. Boom says it hopes to begin flight testing in 2021.

Last month we reported that Boom Supersonic’s Overture jet could one day fly the president of the United States. The company landed an Air Force contract, intended to help fund “explorations” of a special version of the Overture supersonic plane.

Boom says the Overture jets can fly between Paris and Montreal in under four hours and Los Angeles and Sydney in just eight hours and 30 minutes. For context, a nonstop flight between LAX and Sydney on American Airlines’ Boeing 777 or Delta’s Airbus A350 clocks in at 15 hours.

The Air Force has also issued contracts with other companies to research a supersonic government passenger jet, including California-based Exosonic.

(Photo by Douglas McFadd/Getty Images)

This isn’t the world’s first experience with a supersonic jet.

Concorde supersonic transport was a technological tour-de-force that operated in airline service from 1976 to 2003. 100 passengers were pampered during Air France and British Airways flights at twice the speed of sound, crossing the Atlantic in half the time of subsonic jetliners like the Boeing 747.

Related: Concorde at 50: What Flying Supersonic Was Really Like

British Airways operated Concorde on flights BA 001 and BA 002 to and from New York’s JFK, and also operated during the winter to Barbados (BGI).

BA also operated scheduled services to Washington and Bahrain three times per week, Miami with a stopover in Washington, and to Toronto during the summer. 

Air France also operated Concorde, dubbed the “White Bird” on daily flights between Paris (CDG) and JFK. The Paris flight departed at 10:30 am local time, arriving in New York at 8:25 am.

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