GREENSBORO, N.C. (WGHP) – If you want to know a little more about a huge piece of Greensboro’s future, “60 Minutes” on Sunday had the latest about Boom Supersonic.
You recall that Boom, a startup company based in Denver, announced in January that it would build its supersonic jet – what owner/founder Blake Scholl says is the first privately built supersonic jet – in a carbon-net-zero manufacturing facility at Piedmont Triad International Airport.
Boom is investing $500 million to build that manufacturing facility on a plot near I-73 and Old Oak Ridge Road at PTIA, and the jet it plans to build there – called the Overture – would fly at roughly 1304.36 miles per hour and transport 65 to 80 passengers from New York to London in about 3.5 hours.
The company has orders from United Airlines for 15 Overture jets deliverable by 2029, and the airline has an option on 35 more of the jets. The company has valued those preorders at $6 billion. Boom also has announced a 3-year strategic partnership with the U.S. Air Force, a deal the company said is worth $60 million and will accelerate the development of the Overture.
Actual manufacturing is to begin in 2023, with rollout scheduled for 2025 or 2026, the company says, and it plans to start carrying passengers by 2029.
Bill Whitaker of “60 Minutes” walked through Boom’s plans and Scholl’s vision. His report included skeptical assessments by an industry analyst, who cited the obstacles in Boom’s path.
That includes the amount of money – Jon Ostrower, editor of “The Air Current,” suggested it would be “$15 or $20 billion.” He meant $15 billion. – it would take to build and launch this jet.
Principal among those obstacles has been discussed: Development of an engine that runs on fuel sources that are carbon neutral and entirely sustainable. Boom has a partner in Rolls-Royce to build that engine.
“It is a – it is a lightly customized engine,” Scholl told “60 Minutes.” “And part of that is Rolls Royce’s work where they’re kind of turning some design knobs.”
Scholl also extolled his vision for what the development of this jet means: “When I look several decades out, you know, what I want is to be able to be anywhere in the world in four hours for 100 bucks. Now, that’s not where we start. But that’s the end goal.”
The Concorde, which formerly flew between New York and London, was ultra-expensive – thousands of dollars each way, Whitaker said – so how can Boom fulfill this?
Scholl likened his mission to the prices for electric vehicles: “…electric cars when they first came out, they were pretty expensive. But we kept working on them. And the price came down. They got better and better. And so we’re gonna do the same thing with supersonic jets. We’re gonna keep working on them. We’re gonna keep innovating.”