Boom Supersonic’s Controversial Jet Still on Track for Historic Flight

The XB-1 completed ground tests at the Mojave Air & Space Port 8 photos
Photo: Boom Supersonic
The XB-1 Will Soon Fly Over the Mojave DesertThe XB-1 Will Soon Fly Over the Mojave DesertThe XB-1 Will Soon Fly Over the Mojave DesertThe XB-1 Will Soon Fly Over the Mojave DesertThe XB-1 Will Soon Fly Over the Mojave DesertThe XB-1 Will Soon Fly Over the Mojave DesertThe XB-1 Will Soon Fly Over the Mojave Desert
After a serious bump in the road that made almost everyone believe it would lead to the end, the dream of an independent supersonic jet was reborn like the Phoenix. Boom Supersonic is optimistic about the future of the XB-1, and its most recent milestones back that positive outlook.
Boom Supersonic has a big dream for the near future. It wants to fly the XB-1 prototype at the iconic location where more than 50 first flights took place, making aviation history. We're talking about the Mojave Air & Space Port. The manufacturer already had the official documentation allowing it to conduct flights over the Mojave desert.

Another significant achievement is that Boom obtained an experimental airworthiness certificate from the FAA (the Federal Aviation Administration) for its XB-1 jet. At the same time, the aircraft has already passed several ground tests, culminating with taxi testing this week. All of these recent ground tests took place at the Mojave Air & Space Port. Boom moved the XB-1 prototype here from its hangar in Centennial, Colorado, earlier this year.

With the FAA certificate secured, extensive ground testing completed, and several approvals in hand, it's safe to say that the XB-1 is an airworthy jet. What about its engines? Boom Supersonic was at the center of a resounding scandal when it looked like no engine manufacturer was willing to work with it. After Rolls-Royce quit the project, the media reported that no other big names, including GE, Pratt & Whitney, CFM, and Safran, wanted to step in.

Almost a year later, things have taken a positive turn. Boom claims that three General Electric J85 engines will power the XB-1 jet, after all, for a maximum thrust of 12,300 pounds of force (lbf).

Boom Supersonic introduced the Overture concept several years ago, announcing it as the first independently developed supersonic jet worldwide and the world's fastest airliner. Plus, it would also operate as a sustainable alternative to existing planes by running entirely on SAF (sustainable aviation fuel). The most recent design was presented in 2022. Even in the best-case scenario, Overture wouldn't be ready to enter commercial service earlier than 2029.

In the meantime, the company's test pilots are also sharpening their skills and increasing their familiarity with the future jet. They're using a T-38 trainer for practice flights. During future flights, the T-38 will also be the XB-1 jet's chase airplane. In addition to that, the pilots have hundreds of simulation flight hours under their belt.

Chief Test Pilot Bill "Doc" Shoemaker and test pilot Tristan "Gepetto" Brandenburg will be the ones carrying out this historic supersonic flight over the Mojave desert soon. No official date has been announced so far, but the important thing is that Overture, and the dream it represents, seems to be back on track.
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About the author: Otilia Drăgan
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Otilia believes that if it’s eco, green, or groundbreaking, people should know about it (especially if it's got wheels or wings). Working in online media for over five years, she's gained a deeper perspective on how people everywhere can inspire each other.
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