Supersonic flight has always been regarded as the answer to dramatically shortening the travel times when flying. However, since the unfortunate crash of the Air France Concorde in July 2000, which killed all 109 people on board the flight, the emergence of supersonic jets has remained relatively quiet.
That is all about to to change with the launch of the XB-1 prototype supersonic jet from Denver based company Boom. The XB-1 prototype is scheduled to be presented by Boom during an online event with the project’s lead engineers, test pilots and managers in October 2020.
“With XB-1 we’re ensuring that the supersonic future is safe and environmentally and economically sustainable,” said Boom’s founder and CEO Blake Scholl in a statement. “XB-1 is the first step in bringing supersonic travel back to the world.”
The XB-1 prototype, which will be showcased in October will be a 1:3 model of the actual supersonic jet Boom is developing, called Overture and will represent what the future of flight could look like for commercial airlines like Virgin and Japan Airlines, who have already signed partnership deals with Boom, according to Lonely Planet.
— Boom Supersonic (@boomaero) July 18, 2020
The XB-1 prototype features computer-optimised aerodynamics and carbon fibre construction elements which represent several years of research and testing. The XB-1’s cockpit is built around the “design eye point”, the location of the pilot’s eyes and line of vision, to ensure good visibility for landing and for the instrument layout. Anti-skid brakes allow XB-1 to land safely at an approach speed up to 185 knots equivalent airspeed (KEAS), or roughly 342km/h.
Once the XB-1 prototype has been launched, the test flight process will begin in early 2021. That testing will be the basis on which the final version of the Overture jet will be built, according to reports from Lonely Planet.
What this means for actual flight times is that a journey from London to New York for example would take three-and-a-half hours to complete, instead of the normal six hours. Or a trip from Dubai to Singapore could be reduced from a seven hour flight to just four hours.