Boom Supersonic recently received a strategic investment from American Express Ventures that the company says will help support the continued development of its Overture supersonic airliner. The investment comes as Boom has outlined a roadmap to build and roll out the aircraft around 2025, with passenger flights commencing in 2029.
As a precursor, Boom in October rolled out its XB-1 Supersonic demonstrator, which will fly this year to test concepts for the final Overture design. Blake Scholl, Boom founder and CEO, called 2021 a pivotal year for the Denver-based company. “As we prepare to fly our supersonic demonstrator, XB-1, we are also accelerating Overture.”
Powered by three General Electric J85-15 turbojets, the one-third-scale XB-1 will reach speeds up to Mach 2.2 and demonstrate technologies planned for the Overture such as carbon-fiber composite construction; computer-optimized, high-efficiency aerodynamics; and supersonic propulsion systems. Flight trials are to be conducted at Mojave Air and Space Port in California in partnership with Flight Research Inc.
Boom stressed that a significant amount of work has been occurring between both programs, with teams continually applying lessons from the XB-1 to the Overture. “For years Boom has been a two-aircraft company,” said Brian Durrence, senior v-p of Overture development, in a discussion outlining the roadmap. “As XB-1 was being tested and developed, part of our team was working on Overture’s conceptual designs. And when XB-1 begins flight testing...the Overture team will be conducting wind-tunnel testing to validate those designs.”
Boom now anticipates that the Overture will seat between 65 and 88 passengers, more than the earlier estimate of 55, and will fly to 4,250 nm. A key design goal will be for it to be 100 percent sustainable. The company says its backlog for the aircraft has reached $6 billion.
“Boom is building a supersonic passenger aircraft that will make travel faster and more sustainable,” said Harshul Sanghi, global head of Amex Ventures. “Travel has been a key part of American Express’s heritage, and it remains an integral part of our card members’ lifestyles. We are excited to support Boom’s development and invest in the future of travel.”