Boom Supersonic XB-1 takes to the skies



Just over 20 years since Concorde’s last flight, a civil supersonic aircraft is flying again in the shape of Boom’s XB-1. 

The prototype took flight on Sunday from Mojave Air & Space Port achieving an altitude of 7,120ft (2,170m) and speeds up to 238 knots (273 mph). The XB-1, aka Baby Boom, is a one-third-scale trijet supersonic demonstrator measuring 62.6ft nose to tail. 

Blake Scholl founder and CEO said: “Today, XB-1 took flight in the same hallowed airspace where the Bell X-1 first broke the sound barrier in 1947. I’ve been looking forward to this flight since founding Boom in 2014, and it marks the most significant milestone yet on our path to bring supersonic travel to passengers worldwide.”

The aircraft is laying the foundations for commercialisation of Overture, Boom’s production aircraft that will carry 64-80 passengers at Mach 1.7. The company has a growing order book for Overture including 130 orders and pre-orders from American, United and Japan Airlines.

XB-1 was flown by chief test pilot Bill ‘Doc’ Shoemaker,  a former US naval aviator with more than 5,000 flight hours in 50 aircraft types, including the first flight of the Block II Super Hornet.

“Everyone on the XB-1 team should be incredibly proud of this achievement. It has been a privilege to share this journey with so many dedicated and talented professionals,” said Shoemaker. “The experience we have gained in reaching this milestone will be invaluable to Boom’s revival of supersonic travel.”

Former chief Concorde pilot for British Airways, Captain Mike Bannister added: “I’ve been waiting over 20 years for an environmentally friendly successor to Concorde and XB-1’s first flight is a major landmark towards my dreams being realized. When I last flew Concorde in 2003 I knew that this day would come. The first flight of the XB-1 supersonic demonstrator is a significant achievement toward making sustainable supersonic flight a reality, aboard Overture – my number one choice as the successor to Concorde.”