Boom Supersonic receives authorization to conduct supersonic flight tests 

Boom Supersonic inaugural flight
Boom Supersonic

On April 16, 2024, Boom Supersonic announced that it had received a Special Flight Authorization (SFA) from the Federal Aviation Administration to conduct supersonic flight tests. 

This is the first time that the FAA has ever issued an authorization of this sort. It will allow Boom Supersonic to advance to the next stage with the flight test campaign of its XB-1 demonstrator, the aircraft being the test bank for the development of a commercial supersonic airliner. 

On March 22, 2024, Boom Supersonic successfully tested the XB-1 at subsonic speeds. During that test, conducted at the Mojave test ground, California, the aircraft reached an altitude of 7,120 feet and speeds of up to 238 knots (273 mph). 

The supersonic phase of Boom’s XB-1 testing campaign will take place in the Black Mountain Supersonic Corridor and parts of the High Altitude Supersonic Corridor. The latter is a portion of the airspace over the Mojave Desert that is regularly used for military and research supersonic testing operations, with several major military facilities located nearby, including Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake, the National Training Center at Fort Irwin and Edwards Air Force Base. 

In addition to the XB-1 demonstrator, T-38 chase aircraft will also take part in the tests in order to monitor and film them  

Before going supersonic, though, there are still 10 to 20 test flights planned at subsonic speeds. Only then will the XB-1 cross the sound barrier.  

With each successive test, Boom Supersonic plans to increase the speed slightly, with the first three supersonic flights expected to reach the Mach 1.1, 1.2 and 1.3 mark respectively. This gradual flight by flight approach is necessary, because the test airspace is limited and there would not be enough space to test all these speed milestones in succession within one single flight. 

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