Supersonic air-travel is set to slash the eight hour flight time across the Atlantic by more than half.
Backed by Virgin tycoon Richard Branson, a U.S startup is on a quest to push the limits of aviation; earlier this week unveiling a scaled-down prototype of an aircraft which is planned to carry 45 passengers from London to New York in just three-and-a-half hours, or London to to Dubai in just under two-and-a-half hours.
Within its base at Centennial Airport in Colorado, Boom Technology Inc. unveiled the XB-1 Supersonic Demonstrator prototype, dubbed “Baby Boom”, to much fanfare on Tuesday.
Not since the days of Concorde – which flew from 1968 until it was retired by British Airways in 2003 – has a commercial aircraft flown faster than the speed of sound. The XB-1, however, will soar at a mind-boggling 1,450 mph – 2.2 times the speed of sound and 100mph faster than Concorde – to become the fastest civil aircraft ever made.
Resembling a fighter jet, the aircraft has been designed based on lessons learned from the manufacture of the Franco-British Concorde. Former Amazon executive and Boom CEO Blake Scholl has assembled a crack design team featuring a number of NASA, SpaceX, and Boeing veterans.
The XB-1 is a one-third scale prototype of the Boom passenger airliner, which is currently under construction and will take off on its first test flight in late 2017.
Boom also claims the XB-1 will be more efficient than Concorde, due to the fact the aircraft has no need for an afterburner. This is down to the advancement of technology over the last ten years, with notable progressions in aerodynamics, composites, engines, wind tunnels, and software.
Richard Branson’s spaceflight company Virgin Galactic will also help build the futuristic aircraft, while Branson has options on the first 10 Boom planes.