The world’s first privately developed supersonic aircraft was rolled out at a virtual event
Denver-based aerospace company, Boom Supersonic unveiled its demonstrator supersonic aircraft, XB-1 at a virtual roll-out event. The jet – which is scheduled to fly next year – is a one-third scale test example of the firm’s future high-speed passenger airliner, Overture.
During the presentation, executives and stakeholders spoke about the aircraft and its design, as well as a timeline for future milestones.
Speaking at the event, Blake Scholl, Boom founder and CEO, said: “It has been more than half a century since we’ve had a mainstream speedup in air travel, but during this time we’ve made incredible advancements in the foundational technologies for designing, developing and building aircraft.”
Scholl pointed to innovations in aerodynamics, materials, and propulsions systems which all converged to allow the firm to build a new generation of faster aircraft.
The XB-1 is primarily constructed of carbon fibre composites, which bring several advantages over metals commonly used in the aerospace industry. Large and complex shapes are easily created, and adaptations can be made to make parts strong in the necessary areas and lightweight in others. Carbon fibre is also not as susceptible to the expansion and contraction often associated with the temperature changes involved with supersonic flight.
Greg Krauland, chief engineer, commented: “Using advanced fluid simulation, high-powered computing and digital design tools, we were able to reduce the iteration time from months to days.”
The jet is powered by three, afterburner equipped 53.4kN-thrust GE Aviation J85-15 turbojets. The firm says its ground runs of the powerplants have all been conducted using sustainable aviation fuel.
Boom said flight tests of the XB-1 will allow it to calibrate its engine inlet design and verify its performance, optimise its flight control augmentation system, and validate its custom aerodynamic analysis tools used in the design process. These learnings will then be applied during the development and production of the Overture.