GREENSBORO, N.C. (WGHP) — Boom Supersonic will be a new production facility at Piedmont Triad International Airport, but you likely had heard about this company or its aircraft before “Project Thunderbird” emerged late last year.
You may know from our reporting that Boom projects to be the next big thing in high-speed air travel, filling a void that has sparked innovators since the Concorde SST was retired in 2003.
You may also know that Boom is based in Denver, was founded in 2014 by CEO Blake Scholl, a former Groupon executive, with partner Josh Krall and that the company has a contract to provide its jets to United Airlines. Boom has nearly 250 employees.
Everything to this point, though, has been largely conceptual. The facility at PTI would be the company’s first mass-production facility.
So here are 5 things you may find interesting about Boom.
When would these jets start to be built?
The company’s timeline calls for construction of the jets to begin this year, so the announcement at PTI would appear to be the launch of that timeline. 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.
This is ‘just the beginning’
The company’s jet is called the Overture, because, the company says, it’s the first of what it considers constant evolution and innovation. Said Scholl: “Our first supersonic airliner will be the opening of a new era of sustainable high-speed flight, one that is faster, more affordable, safer, and more convenient.” The Overture follows the XB-1 prototype, which debuted in 2020 and is described as the first privately produced supersonic jet.
These birds will be fast
The Overture is designed to cruise at 60,000 feet and reach a speed of Mach 1.7, which is roughly 1304.36 miles per hour. That’s slightly slower than the Concorde, which reached 1,350 miles, but it’s sufficient to get passengers from New York to London in 3.5 hours, the math suggests.
Boom is different from Concorde
The Overture is slightly longer, at 205 feet compared to the Concorde’s 202, and the Concorde could carry 100 passengers, compared to the 65 to 80 the company says Overture will carry. The Concorde only flew between the U.S. and the United Kingdom and Paris – the UK and France were partners in its development – but Boom suggests that its jet will fly more than 500 routes to destinations around the world, with a range of 4,888 miles. Boom also claims to be the only airplane manufacturer to commit to a carbon-neutral, sustainable program. Its jets would fly 100% on “sustainable aviation fuel,” which the U.S. Department of Energy describes as being made from “renewable biomass and waste resources.” Those could be corn or algae or wood products or similar materials.
People appear to be investing in this
The order by United Airlines is for 15 Overture jets deliverable by 2029. The airline has an option on 35 more of the jets. The company has valued those preorders at $6 billion. On Jan. 11 Boom 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. The company is privately held but receives investment of venture capital, most recently from American Express Ventures for an undisclosed amount.