If you’re old enough to remember the Concorde, then startup Boom‘s plans to bring supersonic flight back to commercial passenger air travel is huge. Now Boom is one step closer, as it reveals the XB-1 Supersonic Demonstrator, a 1/3-scale prototype of its Boom supersonic passenger aircraft, which will be doing its first supersonic test flights later this year.
The scale demonstration craft is meant to be “technically representative” of what the final airliner will offer, and includes GE engines, Honeywell avionics and Tencate structural carbon fiber elements. Partner Virgin Galactic is going to be helping Boom build its first production aircraft, offering engineering and manufacturing as well as testing and operations support. Virgin also has optioned Boom’s first 10 vehicles, so it’s also the startup’s first customer.
Testing of the XB-1 will begin with subsonic flights at a location east of Denver in Colorado, and then supersonic tests will run near Edwards Air Force Base in Southern California. Test flights for cutting-edge aircraft, including the F-35, are conducted regularly at the Edwards facility.
Boom has ex-NASA, ex-Lockheed and ex-Boeing aircraft engineers on its team, along with funding from Lightbank, Y Combinator and Sam Altman, Paul Graham and Kyle Voght of Cruise. Their aim is not only to bring back commercial supersonic passenger flight, but also to make it affordable enough that it’s a viable option for regular passengers and routes.