The Future is Supersonic

NASA wind tests 'the new Concorde' as space agency aims to launch revolutionary supersonic passenger jet in 2020.

Boom Technology, an aviation startup in Denver, Colorado, is working on a supersonic jet that will drastically reduce airplane travel times. The company was founded by Joe Wilding Josh Krall, and former Amazon executive and pilot Blake Scholl. The Spaceship Company, part of Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic, will be helping Boom with their manufacturing. In exchange, Virgin has options on Boom’s first 10 airplanes.

When at top speed, standard airplanes travel at Mach 0.85, or about 652 MPH. The retired Concorde flew at Mach 2.04, or about 1565 MPH. Boom Technology is working on a supersonic jet travel that can go Mach 2.2, or 1688 MPH. That’s 2.6 times faster than the average airliner. On this plane, a flight from New York to London would only take 3 hours and 15 minutes and cost $5000 round trip. Scholl says, “The same thing works in the Pacific. San Francisco to Tokyo will take four and a half hours, you can leave in the morning have meetings, eat great sushi and be back in California before midnight on the day you left. This is not saving you an hour here or there, this lets you commute.”

Boom’s planes will likely target business areas around the globe like New York, San Francisco, and Hong Kong, where travelers might be willing to pay for faster travel times.

Late last year, Boom unveiled XB-1, or “Baby Boom,” a prototype of the passenger plane they hope will be ready to fly in 2020. Baby Boom is ⅓ scale model of the passenger plane and is used to demonstrate the flight technologies that have been developed for the supersonic jet. Baby Boom is 68 feet long, weighs 13,500 pounds and has a wingspan of 17 feet. The scale model can carry two people.

The full size plane will be 170 feet long, have a wingspan of 60 feet, and will be able to carry 45 to 55 passengers and six crew members. Seats will be split into single-seat rows, so everyone has a window seat on either side of the plane. Boom plans to fly at 60,000 feet.

The jet is designed to be as aerodynamic as possible, uses carbon composites and resin carbon fabric that can handle the stress and speed of the plane, and uses three General Electric J85-21 turbojet engines. According to Scholl, Boom’s efficient engines and aerodynamic designs means their plane will succeed where the Concorde did not.