Supersonic Boom Mission not to go wrong

Supersonic Boom Mission not to go wrong

On board my first plane into well over a year, since the pandemic began, I settle in the 20F seat of United Airlines 1450, a nonstop Newark to Denver on a twin Boeing 737-900 twin engine. A covalent sense of nostalgia and novelty, like seeing a familiar place with new eyes, restores a muscular memory of soft growth from exercise. As the experienced attendant crosses the PA system— “flight attendants, stand up for all calls and prepare for cross-examination” - my eyes are drawn to the inspector on the seat back in front of me.

To the horror of the hip-hop duo “Boom,” WEARETHEGOOD, the words “SUPERSONIC IS HERE” shine across the screen, followed by the stunning image of a shiny, incredible white plane (“ ON THE UNITED FLEET ”), with a very pointed nose and delta wings rising back and forth out of position. “CUT FLIGHT TIME IN HALF,” the ad continues, with an engaging series of travel programs: San Francisco to Tokyo in six hours, Newark to London in three and a half. That last flight is worth noting, it's shorter than my current domestic scheduled flight, which, due to a long flight path due to “weather” in the Midwest, ending four hours and 32 minutes, at a speed of 900 kph. By the time I was over Nebraska, in a supersonic world I could be all over the Atlantic.

Supersonic - so far - is not really here, despite the seductive geometry and ads of the advertisement by United, which has applied to buy 15 aircraft that have not yet been built (but which have received good attention of the media build in a different catastrophic year). Where it is is, at least putatively, erected on a platform inside the Boom Supersonic headquarters, a low - sloping building next to Centennial Airport in the suburbs of Denver, Colorado. Inside a sprawling hangar, full of racks of parts and desk tops, topped by a wall-mounted banner saying “THE FUTURE IS SPECIAL,” is the XB-1 Supersonic Display, a two-thirds scale version of the a larger plane, named Overture, that Boom hopes will one day take to the skies - at 1.7 times the speed of sound.

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When I first meet Blake Scholl, an accountant and CEO of Boom, on the morning after my subsonic flight to Denver, he tells me that I arrived at a favorable time. "This is a very big week," he said as we handed out safety hats and glasses, "as we powered the plane for the first time this week. And then fuel goes on board the plane for the first time on Sunday. And then we're just a few weeks away from running the engines. ”

At some point down the road, on a test strip in the Mojave Desert, the XB-1 will have a taxi test, and, at some point thereafter, a flight test. Loaded to the hilt with sensors, it is a true flight probe. Scholl claims that “a lot of learning will come out of this plane. "

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