Boom Supersonic is set to build its XB-1 Supersonic Demonstrator – which could pave the way for the world’s fastest passenger airliner. The firm claims its aircraft could travel from New York to London in just three hours and 15 minutes, with air travel costing $2500 each way.
The XB-1 is due to take off on its first test flight later this year and the firm aims to launch commercial flights sometime in 2020. Rigorous testing will take place near Edwards Air Force Base in Southern California in partnership with Virgin Galactic’s The Spaceship Company. Virgin boss Richard Branson has options to buy ten of the supersonic Boom jets.
The jet is expected to cost more than $200 million (£160 million) to build. “We’re trying to build a supersonic airliner that’s economically viable, the way that the Concorde was not,” Boom engineer Kenrick Waithe told CNN. The prototype was unveiled last year at Centennial Airport in Denver and has been subjected to more than 1000 simulated wind tunnel tests.
The supersonic Boom is expected to travel at 60,000 feet – allowing passengers to see a hint of the Earth’s curvature. The XB-1 features a tapered carbon fibre fuselage and is powered by three General Electric J85-21 turbojet engines. The prototype’s avionics are from Honeywell and its carbon fibre shell comes from Tencate.
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