Subscale prototype XB-1 set to become the world’s first zero carbon supersonic flight with test programme scheduled for 2020

Supersonic start-up Boom gave an update on the flight test programme of XB-1, its Mach-2.2 demonstrator aircraft, at the Paris Air Show 2019.

Boom founder and CEO Blake Scholl announced that XB-1 – the subscale prototype for Boom’s supersonic 75-seat business class jet Overture – would now move from the build phase to the testing phase, with the first flights set to take place in 2020. XB-1 will demonstrate the same key technologies for safe, efficient travel which will be used on Overture at Mach 2.2.

Boom also announced partnerships with JPA Design to create a high end passenger experience and Prometheus Fuels to supply fuel during the flight test programme at the show, which would enable XB-1 to become the world’s first supersonic flight with a zero carbon footprint.

XB-1 to become first zero carbon supersonic flight

Scholl said he was excited about the partnership with Prometheus: “They have incredible technology that literally sucks carbon out of the atmosphere and we are partnering with them to turn it into jet fuel. This will allow us to fly zero carbon with XB-1 next year and also to bring it to Overture, so supersonic flight can not just be economical, but also environmentally sustainable for the first time.”

Scholl also reiterated earlier claims by Boom that Overture’s supersonic jets would be able to match business class airfares. He told FINN: “Our long range goal is to be for the fastest flight to be the cheapest one, so that anyone who flies can afford to fly supersonic with Overture. the operating costs are 75 per cent lower than Concorde which means tickets will now be available to anyone who can afford to fly business class today.”

As the aircraft moves towards certification, Scholl explained that only technologies which were already proven would be used in XB-1 and Overture. XB-1 will share the same key technologies as the full scale business class aircraft which include advanced carbon fibre composites, a refined delta wing planform and an efficient variable-geometry propulsion system.