“The airplanes we have today are no faster than the ones we had when my parents were young. We have failed to conquer geography,” said Blake Scholl, Founder & CEO of Boom, a revolutionary Colorado-based aviation firm charged with taking economical, efficient supersonic travel mainstream. The first new commercial aircraft startup in fifty years, Boom combines enduring commercial value with optimized aerodynamics, new developments in carbon fiber composites, and quieter, more fuel-efficient jet engine technology. The result: Overture, a fifty-five premium seat supersonic commercial airliner with a design range of 9,000 nautical miles at Mach 2.2. (1, 451 mph).
Overture promises to be the most environmentally-friendly supersonic jet to date, thanks to advances in aerodynamics and engine technology; Overture’s carbon footprint (and price point) would be the same as today’s international business class, is designed to accommodate next-generation sustainable alternative fuels, and will be as quiet as the subsonic aircraft flying similar routes today.
“At Boom”, Scholl says, “our vision is to remove the barriers to experiencing the planet. Today, the time and cost of long-distance travel prevent us from connecting with far-off people and places. Overture fares will be similar to today’s business class—widening horizons for tens of millions of travelers. Ultimately, our goal is to make high-speed flight affordable to all.”
Boom is currently assembling XB-1, a ⅓-scale manned prototype of its Mach-2.2 airliner. XB-1 will be history’s first independently developed supersonic jet. The fastest civil aircraft ever built, XB-1 looks to demonstrate, in flight, the key technologies necessary for mainstream supersonic flight: state-of-the-art aerodynamic design, advanced composite materials, and an environmentally sustainable propulsion system.
Keep in mind that Boom’s quest for a mainstream renaissance in speed is not without precedent. Nineteenth-century rail technology completely transformed the movement of goods and people, faster than possible by canal; connections previously unimagined not only linked cities and ports but markets, driving remarkable economic expansion for the US and Great Britain; and Boeing’s 707 (with its 4-jet engine), surpassed the steamship as the dominant mode of long-distance commercial travel while setting the jet age in motion—at a mere 600 mph; and the British-French turbo-jet powered Concorde, while a great idea, catered to the wealthy.
Boom’s supersonic airliner’s intervention is that it is not only technologically advanced and environmentally-friendly, but it’s actually looking to deliver value, shrinking 12-hour flight time from Los Angeles to Shanghai to just over six hours. Cabin design totally rethinks the passenger experience. Luggage storage would be underneath passenger seating rather than above. And each passenger has their own window. What’s more, Boom’s strategic partnership with Ctrip, a leading travel service provider in China, looks to bring supersonic flight from China to the United States, South Asia, and Oceania.
Leveraging its extensive knowledge of the Chinese market, Ctrip will help Boom accelerate its ongoing partnerships in the region; Ctrip is uniquely positioned to help Boom navigate the Chinese airline industry; regional aviation powerhouses like Japan Airlines have also signed on for supersonic air travel; and given China’s soft push for global economic dominance vis-à-vis Belt and Road, China’s travel market is the world’s second largest and one of the fastest growing.
Japan Airlines has also signed on. According to Yoshiharu Ueki, President of Japan Airlines, “We are very proud to be working with Boom on the advancement in the commercial aviation industry. Through this partnership, we hope to contribute to the future of supersonic travel with the intent of providing more ‘time’ to our valued passengers while emphasizing flight safety.”
And while Boom’s supersonic airliner is still a few years off, bringing the airliner to market will immediately reverse decades of stagnation and regression in supersonic commercial travel. After all, who wants to be hemmed in by something as trivial as speed limits anyway?