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Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Aircraft. The prototype of the Concorde’s successor passed the first tests

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A scaled-down prototype of the world’s fastest passenger plane has successfully passed its first tests. As announced by the manufacturer, Boom Supersonic, its full-scale version – Ouverture – called “son of Concorde”, is to start commercial flights in 2029. It takes 3.5 hours to fly from London to New York.

Ouverture’s scaled-down prototype, dubbed the XB-1 Baby Boom, has achieved key milestones in ground testing ahead of its first flight, Boom Supersonic said.

The tests were conducted in the last week of August at Mojave Air & Space Port in California. During them, it was checked whether the plane could move at high speed on the runway – so far without taking off from the ground. The tests were successful and the XB-1 Baby Boom received an “experimental certificate of airworthiness” from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). It is awarded to unconventional aircraft so that the manufacturer can conduct test flights. Boom Supersonic has already reached an agreement that allows the aircraft to fly over the Mojave Desert.

When are regular flights?

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The XB-1 Boom Supersonic’s first flight is scheduled to take place in the same airspace where Captain Charles “Chuck” Yeager first broke the sound barrier at the controls of the Bell X-1 in October 1947. This legendary plane built in 1945 was powered by a rocket engine and reached a speed of 1127 km/h.

The full-scale Ouverture prototype is scheduled to be unveiled in 2026, with its first flight scheduled for a year later. In 2029, according to the manufacturer’s plan, it would start regular commercial flights. The plane, which is to reach a supersonic speed of Mach 1.7, i.e. 2080 km / h, will be able to cover the route from London to New York in just 3.5 hours.

XB-1 is 19 meters long, which is about three times smaller than the target Overture (61 m). The supersonic vessel, which will carry up to 80 passengers, is to be powered entirely by Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF), produced from sustainable and renewable sources, not fossil fuels. In addition, the Overture is supposed to be quieter than the Concorde, which was known for its noise nuisance. It was caused by the so-called sonic boom – an acoustic effect produced by objects moving in the air at supersonic speed associated with the propagation of a shock wave.

Leading carriers interested

Overture will travel at a maximum speed of Mach 1.7 (1.7 speed of sound), which is less than Concorde’s maximum cruising speed of Mach 2.04. Despite this, leading carriers, including United Airlines and American Airlines, which are interested in reducing their carbon footprint, have already invested in these planes.

Boom Supersonic is one of several companies that are working on developing commercial supersonic aircraft called “sons of Concorde”. The race is on to be the first successor to the iconic British-French liner that first took to the air in March 1969.

Main photo source: boomsupersonic.com



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