Boom’s XB-1 Supersonic Demonstrator Slips Into 2021

Credit: Boom Supersonic

Boom Supersonic’s XB-1 third-scale demonstrator for the Mach 2.2 Overture airliner is now planned to fly by mid-2021, CEO Blake Scholl told the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Aviation Summit in Washington on March 5.

Powered by three General Electric J85 turbojets, the XB-1 was expected to fly this year. Final assembly of the aircraft is underway in Boom’s facility at Denver Centennial Airport, with rollout planned this summer, he said.

Assembly of the wings is complete, the forward fuselage will be closed out next week, and the wings and fuselage will be joined in a month, Scholl said. After rollout, the XB-1 will begin a year of ground tests.

Boom has partnered with Flight Research Inc. to base the XB-1, a flight simulator and flight-test control room at Mojave Air and Space Port, California, and to fly the aircraft in a supersonic corridor stretching across the Mojave Desert. 

The entire XB-1 flight-test program will be carbon neutral, through a combination of using sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) and offsetting emissions, Scholl said. Boom has ground-tested the J85 engine on a maximum 84% blend of SAF.

The XB-1 will validate the three-engine, delta-wing configuration of Boom’s planned 55-75-seat Overture, which is expected to fly in the mid-2020s and enter service at the end of the decade, he said.

Aerion, meanwhile, plans to fly its Mach 1.4 supersonic business jet, the AS2, at the end of 2024, Chief Financial Officer Matthew Mejia told the summit. 

Five test aircraft are to be built, the fifth one flying only on SAF. Entry into service of the AS2, powered by three GE Affinity supersonic turbofans, is planned for the end of 2026, Mejia said.

Graham Warwick

Graham leads Aviation Week's coverage of technology, focusing on engineering and technology across the aerospace industry, with a special focus on identifying technologies of strategic importance to aviation, aerospace and defense.