Boom Supersonic, the pioneer behind the world’s fastest airliner, Overture, has announced the successful attainment of significant milestones for its technology demonstrator aircraft, XB-1. This aircraft showcases the culmination of 60 years of aviation advancements, encompassing carbon fiber composites, advanced avionics, and digitally-enhanced aerodynamics, to facilitate eco-conscious supersonic travel.
Earlier this year, XB-1 was transitioned from its hangar in Centennial, Colorado, to the Mojave Air & Space Port located in Mojave, California, in order to advance its flight-readiness preparations. Since its relocation, rigorous ground assessments, including recent taxi tests, have been diligently conducted on the aircraft.
Overture, the new supersonic commercial aircraft by Boom Supersonic, ready to go into service in 2029. pic.twitter.com/Yg0WLwghCo
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Blake Scholl, the visionary Founder and CEO of Boom Supersonic, praised the collective endeavor of his team, remarking, “The strides we’ve recently taken in propelling XB-1 toward its inaugural flight are a testament to the dedicated efforts of our entire team, committed to realizing the world’s first independently conceived supersonic jet.”
In addition to ongoing evaluation, XB-1 has been granted an experimental airworthiness certificate from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), a testament to the comprehensive examination of the aircraft.
#NEWS | BOOM Supersonic is readying its XB-1 test demonstrator for flight testing ahead of key milestones achieved by the manufacturers.
— AviationSource (@AvSourceNews) August 27, 2023
Moreover, Boom Supersonic has secured flight authorization for Chief Test Pilot Bill “Doc” Shoemaker and test pilot Tristan “Gepetto” Brandenburg, while also establishing agreements with relevant airspace authorities for XB-1’s flights above the Mojave desert.
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It is notable that XB-1’s inaugural flight will occur in the same airspace that witnessed the historic breaking of the sound barrier by Captain Charles “Chuck” Yeager aboard the Bell X-1, as well as the pioneering flight of the Mach 3+ SR-71 “Blackbird” strategic reconnaissance aircraft in 1964.
As XB-1’s development journey unfolds, the venture has garnered invaluable insights, notably the cultivation of an unwavering safety ethos. In readiness for flight, Boom’s test pilots have dedicated countless hours to simulator-based aircraft assessments, operational enhancement, training, and human factors evaluations, all aimed at ensuring the highest echelons of safety.
Boom Supersonic undertakes an aviation milestone – building XB-1, the world's first independently developed supersonic jet. With advanced carbon composites, avionics and aerodynamics, it will pave the way for sustainable supersonic travel. pic.twitter.com/s9T2QvuJeN
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This commitment extends to maintaining flight proficiency in a T-38 trainer aircraft, selected as the chase plane for all XB-1 flight tests. The T-38 will also be employed for formation flying practice, further amplifying safety measures.
Bill “Doc” Shoemaker, the Chief Test Pilot for Boom Supersonic, expressed his enthusiasm, stating, “It is fitting that XB-1’s march toward its maiden flight takes place at the Mojave Air & Space Port—a site that has witnessed over 50 inaugural flights and significant aviation milestones.
Introducing the Future of Flight ✈️🚀 Say hello to Boom Supersonic's Overture, set to redefine air travel with its mind-blowing speed! 🌐🛫 #OvertureAircraft #NextGenTravel #SpeedRevolution pic.twitter.com/Dofr8scVYN
— PJC Flights of Fancy (@PJCflights) August 29, 2023
This setting holds a special place as we look forward to flying XB-1 here, drawing inspiration from the accomplished engineers and pilots who motivate us daily to usher supersonic travel into the mainstream.”
XB-1’s distinguished features encompass a 71-foot fuselage constructed from carbon composites and titanium. Its ogive (modified delta) wing design ensures safe operations during takeoff, landing, and supersonic flight. The power for XB-1 is harnessed through three General Electric J85 engines, collectively producing a maximum thrust of 12,300 pounds of force (lbf).
Initiating its journey in October 2020, this supersonic demonstrator aircraft rolled out of Boom’s Centennial, Colorado hangar. Since then, exhaustive assessments of all internal subsystems have been executed. The integration of improved landing gear and supersonic engine intakes further enhance performance and safety for XB-1.
“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. I’m looking forward to flying XB-1 here, building on the achievements of other talented engineers and pilots… pic.twitter.com/DBIY5YQs2s
— Boom Supersonic (@boomaero) August 28, 2023
Throughout its development trajectory, XB-1 has not only affirmed the efficacy of Boom’s aircraft design principles but also facilitated engineers in harnessing sophisticated tools like computational fluid dynamics (CFD), which hold pivotal roles in the progression of Overture, Boom’s forthcoming sustainable supersonic airliner. Overture’s design envisions it cruising at Mach 1.7, roughly double the speed of contemporary airliners, all while operating exclusively on 100% sustainable aviation fuel (SAF).
The progress achieved by Boom Supersonic with the XB-1 aircraft underscores a significant leap forward in the realm of aviation technology. As the aircraft transitions from its developmental phase to the threshold of its inaugural flight, the collective expertise of the Boom team shines through.
The innovative use of carbon fiber composites, aeronautical advancements, and cutting-edge aerodynamics in XB-1’s construction is indicative of a new era in supersonic travel—one that prioritizes sustainability without compromising speed and efficiency.
Today, we announced the completion of several key milestones for XB-1, our technology demonstrator aircraft. Earlier this year, XB-1 was moved to the Mojave Air & Space Port in Mojave, California to continue preparations for flight. The aircraft has undergone extensive ground… pic.twitter.com/pZmn06P99Q
— Boom Supersonic (@boomaero) August 24, 2023
The meticulous testing and scrutiny that XB-1 has undergone, coupled with the receipt of the FAA’s experimental airworthiness certificate, not only reaffirm Boom Supersonic’s dedication to safety but also represent a pivotal stride in the journey towards mainstream supersonic flight.
The symbolism of XB-1 taking to the skies in the same airspace that witnessed seminal moments in aviation history, such as Chuck Yeager’s groundbreaking feat, imbues the endeavor with a profound sense of continuity and progress.
XB-1’s role as a precursor to the Overture supersonic airliner signifies a visionary shift towards sustainable air travel. The insights gleaned from XB-1’s development, including the emphasis on safety culture, simulator-based evaluations, and real-world training, lay a strong foundation for the future of supersonic flight.
As Boom Supersonic embarks on the historic first flight of XB-1, it not only pays homage to the pioneers of aviation but also sets a course for a more environmentally conscious and technologically advanced aviation landscape.