Supersonic startup Boom unveils XB-1 prototype, begins flight testing

  • Boom Supersonic just unveiled the prototype for its supersonic commercial jet that’s slated to bring a new era of ultra-fast travel.
  • The XB-1 demonstrator will begin flight testing in 2021 to prove viable the technology that will power the larger, Concorde-like Overture passenger plane.
  • Development of the Overture will continue concurrently with the XB-1’s flight testing for a planned 2025 debut.
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The days of supersonic travel are almost here again and leading the charge isn’t Airbus or Boeing, but smaller startups including one Colorado-based aviation firm that just rolled out a flyable prototype.

Boom Supersonic has been at the forefront for the relaunch of supersonic commercial flight with a design of its own, the Overture, a Concorde-like jet that’s slated for a 2025 debut. The $200 million plane could cut down travel times in half if successful and make the world a significantly smaller place.

The Concorde was known for three-hour transatlantic crossing between the East Coast and Europe, making it possible for travelers to have breakfast in New York and lunch in Paris, or breakfast in London and a second breakfast in Washington. But standing in the way between today’s planes and the next supersonic age is flight testing — thousands of hours of it. 

Boom just took the wraps off of the prototype that will perform flight testing and prove its technology viable for wide-scale commercial flight. The single-pilot demonstrator known as the XB-1 will take to the skies starting next year and pave the way for the Overture. 

Airlines have already shown an interest and desire to get back into supersonic travel as Virgin Atlantic Airways and Japan Airlines are both investors in the company that has racked up 30 pre-orders. Even the US Air Force wants to get on