Imagine flying from LA to London in just under 5 hours! If you thought you’d have to pack extra snacks, an eye mask, and a travel pillow to bed down on a 10-hour flight from Los Angeles to London, the aviation company Boom Supersonic is going to surprise you. Their supersonic commercial airliner, the Overture, is capable of whittling down the flight time to less than a transcontinental domestic flight.
Yes, aircraft from Boom Supersonic could travel the 5,440 mi (8,756 km) journey from LA to London in just 5 hours! In this article, we’ll explain everything you need to know about this game-changing aviation startup that is returning supersonic travel to the skies.
The Sonic Boom of the Overture Could Rattle British Teacups as Early as 2029
Boom Supersonic has the bold ambition of slashing the LA to London flight time in half with commercial flights on their airliners taking to the skies within the decade. This aerospace startup intends to connect these two world cities with Mach 1.7 supersonic speeds for their novel airliner which features a unique sustainable design. And the industry is getting behind its plans with major airlines including United Airlines, American Airlines, and Japan Airlines already placing orders.
However, Not All Brits Are Impressed by the Plans…
The British are not strangers to supersonic commercial flights. As the key destination on London to New York Concorde flights, London Heathrow is eagerly anticipating the return of a supersonic airliner and the associated fanfare and glamor. However, some in the United Kingdom aren’t impressed with plans for a new supersonic passenger plane.
Willie Walsh, Director General of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and ex-British Airways CEO is sitting back with popcorn to watch the supersonic airliner plans take shape but says that he has no faith in them. Irishman Walsh is not convinced that supersonic air travel is the correct next step for the aviation industry.
Mr. Walsh took the reins of British Airways in the year that Concorde was grounded and reports that the legendary supersonic airliner was not profitable at all. Indeed since the tragic Air France crash in 2000 and Concorde’s retirement in 2003, supersonic air travel has never been revived. In fact, in 2020, the supersonic aviation startup Aerion went under with crippling development costs. The costs required to develop, manufacture and maintain supersonic airliners are eye-watering, a major hurdle for Boom Supersonic.
About Boom Supersonic
Boom Technology (trading as Boom Supersonic) is one of the world’s newest and boldest aerospace companies. This $150 million Colorado startup was founded in 2014 with the sole objective of developing a supersonic commercial airliner with private investment. The founder and CEO Blake Scholl partnered with aerospace engineer Joe Wilding and software engineer Joshua Krall to get the company off the ground and has continued to lead the venture.
Boom Technology’s strategy for building its Overture airliner is to build on existing aerospace technology and engineering, refining, and extending it to support supersonic speeds. To help them, the founders assembled a loyal team of over 150 full-time employees who have significant experience in aerospace development.
Boom Technology Company Profile
|Trading name||Boom Supersonic|
|Boom Supersonic headquarters||Centennial, Colorado, United States|
|Company type||Private startup|
|Founders of Boom Technology||Blake Scholl, Josh Krall, and Joe Wilding|
|Current CEO||Blake Scholl|
|Number of employees||150+ (1730 by 2030)|
Developing a Supersonic Commercial Plane Comes with Serious Costs
Getting a novel conventional commercial airliner off the tarmac costs billions of dollars, let alone a supersonic one! Financing has been one of the key reasons why commercial supersonic aircraft haven’t been developed for over 50 years. Spiraling development costs are a major challenge for any aerospace company that wants to achieve this goal, but so far Boom Supersonic appears to be keeping its head above water.
So far, Boom Supersonic has raised over $150 million in Series A and Series B funding. This is probably less than 10% of the overall cost required to bring the airliner to market, but it has been enough to secure orders and build a serious working prototype. Having a demonstrator aircraft in hand is key to raising the funds that are necessary for further development.
Everything You Need to Know About Supersonic’s Next-Gen Airliner
The finance and effort of Boom Supersonic are being poured into the development of the company’s signature aircraft, the Overture. This is a business-class commercial airliner that can accommodate up to 88 passengers in luxury while completing transcontinental journeys at supersonic speeds.
The Overture is designed for speed. It features a sleek design that has been developed to optimize its fuel efficiency, essential for a sustainable airplane. Boom Supersonic has developed the aircraft with a contoured fuselage and compound modified delta planform and gull wing for sustained supersonic flight. With these attributes, the Overture is expected to achieve speeds that are twice as fast as a commercial airliner over water and 20 percent faster over land.
Need-To-Know Specs for the Overture
Here are the current specifications of the Overture, which may change as the project progresses:
|Overture length (nose to tail)||61 m (201 ft)|
|Overture wingspan||18 m (60 ft)|
|Overture max weight||77,111 kg (170,000 lbs)|
|Overture engines||4 Symphony engines|
|Overture max speed||2,083 km/h (MACH 1.7)|
|Overture max altitude||60,000 ft|
|Overture balanced field length||Up to 3,048 m (10,000 ft)|
|Overture fuel||Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) exclusively|
|Overture passenger capacity||65 to 88 passengers|
The Symphony Engine Is in Development for the Overture
To achieve safe, sustainable, and supersonic flight, Boom Supersonic is developing its own jet engines for the airliner. The Symphony engine is a proprietary engine that has been developed from existing aerospace technologies with contributions from industry leaders like StandardAero, Kratos, and General Electric.
The proposed medium-bypass turbofan engine is expected to be able to generate the 35,000 pounds (160 kN) of thrust the Overture will need for takeoff and acceleration to Mach 1.7 cruising. Not only is the Symphony going to be the world’s quietest supersonic engine, to comply with aviation regulations, but it will also be the world’s most sustainable, running on 100% sustainable aviation fuel.
Boom Supersonic Already Has a Working Prototype of the Overture
One of the main reasons Boom Supersonic has received industry investments and orders is that the company has built a supersonic non-military aircraft that is serving as a demonstrator for the Overture. The XB-1 is a trijet demonstrator that was developed in partnership with Virgin Galactic and completed in 2020. According to Boom Supersonic, the XB-1, a ⅓ scale version of the Overture, is capable of Mach 2.2 speeds. It is due to make its first test flights in 2023.
These are the XB-1 aircraft specs:
|XB-1 nose-to-tail length||68 ft (21 m)|
|XB-1 wingspan||17 ft (5.2 m)|
|XB-1 max weight||13,500 lb (6,100 kg)|
|XB-1 engines||3x non-after-burning turbojets|
|XB-1 max cruise speed||2716.56 km/h – MACH 2.2|
|XB-1 maximum range||Up to 1,900 km (1000 nautical miles)|
|XB-1 fuel||Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF)|
Boom Supersonic, their investors, and airline customers are undoubtedly serious about their plan to connect LA and London with supersonic flights. However, they face a steep uphill climb in raising the billions required to deliver a safe and functional airliner by their deadline of 2028. Going by their outstanding progress so far, Boom Supersonic may just achieve their goal!