XB-1 supersonic demonstrator performs engine running tests

Boom Supersonic’s experimental aircraft will be used to test a concept that will be applied to the Overture, a supersonic passenger jet that should fly in 2025

Boom Supersonic this week released images and information about the engine firing tests of the XB-1, a demonstrator that will be used to evaluate the configuration of an Overture supersonic passenger aircraft.

Start-ups of the three engines are taking place at Millenium Airport in Denver and are expected to culminate in taxi tests at a speed of 70 mph (112 km/h).

The XB-1 uses old GE J85 turbojets that equipped F-5 fighters in Canada and that have afterburners. The aircraft has a configuration with the engines installed on the side and center of the fuselage, with side and top air intakes, vaguely resembling a Boeing 727.

The slim aircraft intends to put into practice concepts developed by Boom not only to overcome the sound barrier but also to confirm the reduction of the sonic boom, an indispensable requirement for the Overture to be able to fly over inhabited areas at speeds of Mach 2.2.

The XB-1 program has suffered a delay as it predicted the first flight in 2021. The US start-up does not mention new deadlines, but reveals that the demonstrator will soon be taken to the Mojave Air & Space Port where it will perform higher taxi speeds of up to 135 knots (155 mph/249 km/h).

The experimental jet’s takeoff speed will be 185 knots, according to Boom.

Despite the delay, the program continues to receive important incentives such as United Airlines, which ordered 15 aircraft, and the USAF, which this week announced an investment of $60 million in the project. The Overture supersonic passenger aircraft should fly in 2025.

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