United Looks Towards A Supersonic Future with Boom
The airline will purchase 15 units of Overture with passenger operation expected by 2029.
By definition, a supersonic aircraft is one which can travel at a speed faster than that of sound. Several supersonic aircrafts have been developed over the decades but only two of them were intended as civilian airliners: the lesser known Tupolev TU-144 of the Soviet Union and the more famous Concorde of British and French origin. Back in the days, a supersonic flight was roughly twice as fast as a regular flight. It would have transported passengers from New York City to London in just under three hours, for example.
This writer has been inside a Concorde at a museum once but never had the chance to take an actual flight with one because the aircraft was retired in 2003, bringing a close to one very important chapter of commercial aviation. Maybe, just maybe, Boom’s Overture will give me my first supersonic experience, 60,000 feet above the ground, eight or nine years away from now.
Boom Supersonic is an American firm established in 2014 with the goal of redefining commercial air travel through the development of supersonic commercial aircrafts. Their first product, the Overture, is scheduled to roll out in 2025, have its first flight in 2026 and be ready for passenger operation by 2029.
The Overture will have an advanced, thermally-stable carbon composite airframe. It will share the same slim fuselage profile with swept back triangular wings like the two supersonic airliners before it. But unlike the Concorde with its 4-abreast seating for up to 120 passengers, the Overture will have only one (but larger and modernly equipped) seat on each side of the aisle for up to 88 passengers. Rendered images also show very large windows, probably four times the size of those on the Concorde, so the view from the altitude of 60,000 feet should be fantastic.
More importantly, Boom is developing Overture as a greener solution from the beginning. Its Rolls-Royce engines will operate on 100% sustainable aviation fuel and generate less noise than the previous generation of supersonic airliners.
For the time being, United has already committed themselves to the purchase of 15 Overture aircrafts. Boom also indicates that United may purchase 35 additional units afterwards, and that Japan Airlines has pre-ordered 20 units as well.
For now, here’s a short clip to keep you on the edge of your seat
All images courtesy of Boom Supersonic