XB-1 first flight

Boom Supersonic has the green light to fly above Mach 1 with the XB-1

The startup’s test aircraft will evaluate the design of the future Overture supersonic commercial jet

Boom Supersonic, a startup that intends to put a new supersonic commercial jet into service, obtained a Special Flight Authorization (SFA) from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to fly above Mach 1 with the XB-1 prototype.

The three-engine test aircraft was developed to evaluate in flight the Overture supersonic airliner project, an aircraft for up to 80 passengers that promises to take the path of the Concorde.

According to Boom, the authorization will allow the XB-1 to break the sound barrier Black Mountain Supersonic Corridor and in a portion of the High Altitude Supersonic Corridor within the R-2515 airspace.

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Those regions are used for research and military supersonic aeronautical operations.

XB-1 demonstrator aircraft (Boom Supersonic)

The FAA’s green light comes less than a month after the XB-1’s inaugural flight on March 22 from the Mojave Air & Space Port in Mojave, California.

“Following XB-1’s successful first flight, I’m looking forward to its historic first supersonic flight,” said Blake Scholl, founder and CEO of Boom Supersonic. “We thank the Federal Aviation Administration for supporting innovation and enabling XB-1 to continue its important role of informing the future of supersonic travel.”

Second flight on the way

The Boom development team will systematically expand the flight envelope to confirm its performance and handling qualities through and beyond Mach 1.

“This includes in-flight checks of all systems, as well as multiple test points demonstrating safe margin to flutter (vibration) boundaries. There are a total of 10-20 flights planned before reaching supersonic speeds,” explained the company.

Bill “Doc” Shoemaker, Chief Test Pilot (Boom Supersonic)

The task of breaking the sound barrier will fall to Test Pilot Tristan “Geppetto” Brandenberg, a former US Navy test pilot on the famous Top Gun.

“We anticipate taking it up to 16 degrees AOA (angle of attack), and will also evaluate the sideslip which will expand the envelope in order to give us a little bit more margin on a nominal landing. It will also be the first time the ‘dampers’—or stability augmentation system—is used,” said Brandenburg.

Boom Supersonic has not announced when the next XB-1 flight will take place, but that the landing gear will be retracted and extended.


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