If its planes have not yet seen the sky, the American company Boom Supersonic is preparing the future of aviation. Created in 2014 in Colorado, the company has one goal: to relaunch the production of supersonic aircraft, after the end of service of Concorde in 2003. For 19 years, no aircraft exceeding the speed of sound has transported passengers . With its $200 million model, the Overture, Boom Supersonic hopes to change that.
Capable of reaching a speed of Mach 1.7, or nearly 2,100 km/h, this aircraft will be slower than its European predecessor, which could go up to Mach 2 (2,450 km/h). Nevertheless, it will have the advantage of being much quieter thanks to the absence of post-combustion, a technique which consists in increasing the thrust of the engines, and which generates a significant noise nuisance. In addition, the Overture is expected to be powered by 100% sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), made from biomass, used oils and even, in the future, CO2 captured and green hydrogen, reducing CO emissions by 80%2 compared to kerosene.
Also, the noise pollution caused by the sonic boom, i.e. exceeding the speed of sound, Mach 1, should not be a problem either. The Overture will not exceed Mach 0.94 when flying over land, and will accelerate once at sea, when the noise can no longer disturb anyone.
These innovations have convinced several airlines, which have chosen to invest in this future supersonic aircraft. After United Airlines, which ordered fifteen Overture in June 2021, with an option on 35 more, it was American Airlines which announced on August 16 that it had added 20 additional aircraft to the Boom Supersonic order book.
It must be said that the promise is enticing. This 62-meter-long aircraft, with 18-meter wings, will be able to accommodate between 65 and 85 passengers on each of its flights. The American company promises trips between London and New York in 3:30 hours, compared to 6:30 hours today, a flight from Miami to London in less than 5 hours, compared to just under 9 hours today, or even a trip from Los Angeles to Sydney, which is usually done in 15 hours, in just 6:45 hours. A performance possible thanks to its four supersonic engines, two under each wing. “This is the future I believe in: a future in which it is possible to travel to any place in the world in less than 4 hours, and for just $100”confided the founder and CEO of Boom Supersonic, Blake Scholl, in a video presentation.
In fact, we are still a little far from his hopes. While flight times will be drastically reduced aboard the Overture, all destinations will obviously not be reachable in less than 4 hours. Above all, at the price level, the CEO of Boom Supersonic is still very far from reality. A one-way ticket between London and New York should cost around €4,920. Flying far, fast and responsibly is not yet within everyone’s reach.
Test flights are planned by the end of the year, with the Boom XB-1, a one-third replica of the Overture. The planes will be built at Piedmont Triad International Airport in Greensboro, North Carolina, creating more than 1,700 jobs at the same time. Take-off scheduled for 2029.