Boom Supersonic announced on August 24, 2023, that it has made significant progress towards the first test flight of its XB-1 demonstrator.
The American startup has secured an experimental airworthiness certificate from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for the XB-1 as well as letters of authorization that will enable chief test pilot Bill “Doc” Shoemaker and test pilot Tristan “Gepetto” Brandenburg to test the aircraft out of Mojave Air & Space Port, California.
The startup explained that both pilots have been preparing for the inaugural flight by completing hundreds of hours of training in a simulator as well as flying T-38 aircraft.
The XB-1 is a small-scale demonstrator measuring 71 feet in length. Its aim is to validate technologies that Boom Supersonic wants to use later on the Overture, its projected supersonic airliner, which is expected to be able to fly between 65 and 80 passengers at speeds of up to Mach 1.7.
The XB-1, which has already been performing ground and taxiing tests at Mojave, will be powered by three General Electric J85 engines.
The J85 is a tried and tested turbojet engine that has been in service for several decades. However, in order to fulfill its mission to develop a supersonic airliner, Boom Supersonic will have to overcome a significant challenge and successfully develop a clean-sheet engine. To do so, it has partnered with Kratos Defense and hired a former senior Boeing engineer.