Boom is making some serious supersonic strides.
The XB-1, which first rolled out of Boom’s Colorado hangar in 2020, was recently moved to the Mojave Air & Space Port in California for ground testing. Last week, the supersonic jet completed taxi testing and received an experimental airworthiness certificate from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
“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,” Boom’s founder and CEO Blake Scholl said in a statement.
The aircraft features a carbon-composite and titanium fuselage and a 17-foot ogive (modified delta) wing that can withstand supersonic speeds. It is also equipped with three General Electric J85 engines that can produce a combined maximum thrust of 12,300 pounds. Even better, the XB-1 will run on 100 percent sustainable aviation fuel (SAF).
In addition to the FAA certification, Boom has also secured letters of authorization that will allow test pilots Bill “Doc” Shoemaker and Tristan “Gepetto” Brandenburg to fly XB-1 over the Mojave desert. Coincidently, this airspace is where Charles “Chuck” Yeager first broke the sound barrier in the Bell X-1 in 1947.
“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,” Shoemaker adds.
XB-1 was developed as a way to fine-tune the design of the larger Overture airliner. The supersonic aircraft is designed to fly 65 to 80 passengers at Mach 1.7, or about 1,300 mph, which is about twice the speed of today’s fastest airliners. To put that into context, Overture will be able to fly from London to New York in three and a half hours. It will be fully powered by SAF, too.
Boom says XB-1 has validated its approach to airplane design and enabled engineers to leverage the advanced tools that are critical to Overture’s development. A number of aerospace analysts believe Overture will never hit the skies, but it looks like XB-1 definitely will.