Boom Supersonic Could Travel From LA to Tokyo in Just Over 4 Hours

la to tokyo

Boom Supersonic Could Travel From LA to Tokyo in Just Over 4 Hours

The future of flight seems to rest on the shoulders of companies like Boom Supersonic. Conventional flight has stagnated in development since the final flight of the Concorde fleet. The future holds a lot of promise in regard to supersonic flight.

There are some restrictions that could hamper the progress of supersonic flight across the continental United States. However, being able to cruise across the ocean at supersonic speeds and arriving at your location in record time is certainly an exciting prospect.

Let’s take a closer look at what Boom Supersonic is, what their aircraft is capable of, and what supersonic flight means.

Breaking the Speed of Sound

The first thing to know when trying to understand why Boom’s promises are such a big deal is the very notion of supersonic flight. All supersonic flight refers to any vehicle being able to exceed the speed of sound.

The speed of sound is 767 miles per hour. Breaking the speed of sound brings a whole new level of jargon to the table. You measure supersonic speed in Machs, not miles per hour or knots.

The speed of sound was first broken in a Bell X-1 in 1947 by Chuck Yeager. After breaking the sound barrier, flight development changed overnight. As a result, the refinement and development of airframes and engines capable of supporting supersonic speeds made great strides.

In the past, the military and space race were the primary developers of supersonic flight. However, a joint venture between England and France saw the Concorde operate for a number of years before its final flight in 2003.

What Is Boom Supersonic?

2014 saw the start of Boom Supersonic in Denver, Colorado. Progress was glacial for the first few years. Initial funding and investor interest followed, with the first round completed in 2017. 2022 saw Boom Supersonic constructing their new production and test facility in North Carolina.

This 65-acre site will pose as the testbed for all future development of Boom Supersonic aircraft. Currently, there are no active production models, with the Overture serving as a non-functional concept at the time of this writing.

guide to boom supersonic
Around 26 million hours of simulated software designs were dedicated to the creation of the Overture.

©T. Schneider/Shutterstock.com

Boom Supersonic’s XB-1, the proof-of-concept for the Overture, has already done some pre-flight testing. Before relocating to its new production facility, Boom had been conducting tests for the function of vital operational systems as well as taxing on the runway.

2021 brought delays to the startup. However, Boom claims the timetable for the maiden flight of the Overture is still on schedule.

Boom Supersonic Flight Times to Tokyo

With all this in mind, what does this mean for supersonic flight and its use in commercial spaces? A typical flight from Los Angeles International Airport to Narita International Airport in Tokyo currently has an average travel time of 10 hours and 49 minutes. However, traveling at nearly one and a half times the speed of sound cuts down the duration of the flight considerably.

Going by Boom Supersonic’s provided flight speed of Mach 1.7, or 1,297 miles per hour, a flight from LAX to Narita International Airport would be right over 4 hours.

The distance from LAX to Narita International Airport is 5,451 miles. This a considerably shorter flight. With a travel time of more than half the current average to reach Tokyo, Boom could revolutionize commercial flights.

When Is the Overture Taking Flight?

With all this in mind, you do have to bear in mind that is all conjecture. Boom’s Overture has yet to take flight, and initial testing for the aircraft is coming in 2026. Boom hopes to have the Overture operational and fulfilling flights by 2030.

Initial interest in the supersonic aircraft has been quite substantial. Multiple airlines have purchased unbuilt aircraft while Boom works on delivering the product.

boom supersonic
Overture’s wing configuration is a conventional compound delta for low supersonic drag.

©T. Schneider/Shutterstock.com

Suffice it to say, the Overture won’t be taking flight this year. But nine years for a completely brand-new aircraft concept to go from prototype to functional production model is quite an astounding feat.

It is absolutely crucial that these initial bouts of testing go well, since airlines like American Airlines and United have already purchased aircraft for future use. The interest is certainly there for commercial flights, and air travel is one of the most efficient and safest ways to travel.

What Is the Overture?

Overture is Boom Supersonic’s flagship aircraft, and what looks to revolutionize commercial flight. It is quite a remarkable feat of engineering. Hopefully, Boom Supersonic is able to deliver on the promises it has made. Let’s take a look at the Overture’s specs.

Cruising SpeedMach 1.7
Cruising Altitude60,000 feet
Operational Range4,250 nautical miles or 4,888 miles over land
Passenger Capacity65 to 80 passengers
Length201 feet
Style of WingGull Wing
Engine UsedSymphony Engine

The overall design of the Overture is quite sleek. Its unassuming exterior wouldn’t lead you to believe it can break the speed of sound, but a comfortable cruising speed of Mach 1.7 begs to differ. It remains to be seen if Boom Supersonic will be able to deliver on these promises.

Also of note are the emission efficiency and the lower noise profile. Sonic booms are quite loud by default, but Boom and others in the aerospace industry have been working to negate the effects of the phenomenon.

This is currently one of the largest hindrances to supersonic flight over residential areas. But there is certainly a want for any manufacturer to fill the void left by Concorde since the last of them were grounded in 2003.

Taking Off with Boom Supersonic

The promise of supersonic flight could change the way air travel functions. There are, of course, certain restrictions in regard to operating a supersonic flight over residential areas, but Boom is looking to negate those issues. A maiden voyage hasn’t yet been announced, but the Overture looks to be one of the most exciting prospects in the commercial air industry.

Commercial air travel still remains one of the quickest ways to get from place to place. Boom Supersonic and other companies bringing the promise of even faster air travel at affordable prices could be a massive shift. The only thing left to do is wait for those first flights, which aren’t too terribly far away.

Boom Supersonic Could Travel From LA to Tokyo in Just Over 4 Hours FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

Is supersonic flight allowed over residential areas?

At the time of this writing, no. Supersonic flight is restricted solely to combat areas and over the oceans. This is thanks in part to the potential for damage an aircraft breaking the sound barrier can impart to buildings, with things like broken windows being common. It can also cause hearing damage for bystanders on the ground.

Why would someone want to use a supersonic flight over a conventional flight?

A supersonic flight is many magnitudes faster than a conventional flight. As discussed in this article, the flight time from LAX to Narita is well under five hours when going at supersonic speeds. While it is absolutely remarkable to consider getting to a completely different side of the world in under 12 hours, supersonic flight makes it many times faster.

Is supersonic flight louder than subsonic flight?

Supersonic flight is far louder than subsonic flight. This is thanks to the simple fact of breaking the sound barrier. The resultant phenomenon is called a sonic boom and it is loud enough to cause permanent hearing loss if you aren’t wearing ear protection. This is one of the primary reasons supersonic flight isn’t allowed over populated areas.

What needs to change for supersonic flight to be viable?

For supersonic flight to be viable it needs to be safe, efficient, low noise, and affordable. The Concorde jets of the past were a marvel of engineering, but they guzzled down fuel and were only allowed to fly over the oceans. It was also many times more expensive than booking a conventional flight, with tickets running into the thousands of dollars in the early 1990s.

Is supersonic flight safe for the environment?

Ordinarily, supersonic flight is quite damaging to the environment. The higher rate of fuel consumption lends itself to more carbon dioxide being produced. The Overture and other next-generation aircraft championing supersonic flight are looking to cut back on emissions substantially, however.

To top