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BABY BOOM: Supersonic Jet That Can Fly 1,700 MPH Set For Unveiling
ENGLEWOOD, CO - NOVEMBER 15: A view of the XB-1 Supersonic Demonstrator at the official unveiling at the Boom Technologies hanger on November 15, 2016 in Englewood, Colorado. (Photo by
Tom Cooper/Getty Images for Boom Technology

Once upon a time, there was a plane that could fly twice the speed of sound, 1,354 mph.

But that plane, the Concorde, has been decommissioned for nearly two decades. Since then, no aircraft builder has built a supersonic jet to take its place.

But a new plane called Boom Overture — which can fly even faster: Mach 2.2, or 1,688 mph — is moving through phases of development and a test version known as Baby Boom XB-1 will soon take its debut flight.

Boom Technology last week announced that Overture’s demonstrator, the XB-1, will be rolled out in October and then be tested in flight at California’s Mojave Air and Space Port in 2021. The tests will hopefully ready Overture for flights by the mid-2020s. XB-1, using carbon-fiber construction, will be one-third scale of Overture and will be powered by triple GE Aviation J85-15 engines.

The XB-1 won’t carry passengers. In fact, it only has room for one pilot. But if successful, the company will move forward with the development of Boom Overture, a passenger jet that can carry 55 to 75 passengers.

“Join us here on October 7, 2020, to witness the historic rollout of Boom’s XB-1. As the world’s first independently developed supersonic jet, XB-1 is paving the way for the return of supersonic travel,” Boom Technology said in a statement.

“Welcome supersonic technology back to the world. Combining advanced aerodynamic design, carbon composite material, and high-efficiency propulsion, XB-1 demonstrates the key technologies for safe, efficient, and sustainable supersonic flight. The completion of XB-1’s assembly marks a turning point in commercial viability for supersonic travel. XB-1 leads the way for Overture development, by providing continual learnings for the program.”

The company said, “We’ve learned that the demand for supersonic has grown even faster than we anticipated.”

The passenger planes, which will cost $200 million apiece (and a whopping $5,000 per seat for passengers, Express reports), are reportedly set to use alternative fuels.

But passenger flights could be a ways off. The first supersonic plane, the Concorde, took its initial flight in March 1969, but the plane didn’t carry passengers until January 1976. With its famous “droop nose,” the plane was iconic, the benchmark for luxury, and could fly 100 passengers from New York to London in less than three hours. (Fun facts: The Concorde flew so high — 60,000 feet — that passengers could see the curvature of the earth, and the plane stretched 6-10 inches during flight).

But in July 2000, Air France Flight 4590 crashed in Gonesse, France, after departing from Paris’s Charles de Gaulle Airport en route to John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City, killing all 100 passengers and nine crew members on board as well as four people on the ground. It was the only fatal accident involving Concorde, and before then, the plane was considered the safest in the sky.

According to the official investigation, the crash was caused by a metallic strip that had fallen from a Continental Airlines DC-10 that had taken off minutes earlier from the de Gaulle airport.

The Concorde planes were retired in October 2003.

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