The famous UK business magnate Richard Branson, who is the founder of Virgin group is one of those people who look forward to incorporating the newest of technology in the airplanes. A little while back he mentioned how the future of airline industry would change with lighter graphene-based planes. Virgin Galactic has now partnered with a startup Boom Technology for building a supersonic aircraft. The craft will move through the skies at speed much faster than that of the Concorde jet or any commercial aircraft for that matter.
Aircraft moving faster than the speed of sound are not a new idea at all. Such planes were developed in the 20th century. The planes faced both technical and regulatory challenges, and hence the idea was not widely accepted for passenger aircraft, and even the Concorde retired soon. Headquartered in Denver, the Boom Technology aims to develop a modern aircraft that travels at Mach 2.2 which is 1,451 mph, twice as much as the speed of sound. The Concorde flew at the maximum speed of only 1,350 mph.
With the Mach 2.2 speed, the travel between London and New York City will take no longer than 3 hours and 15 minutes, and from San Fransisco to Tokyo will only be 5 and a half hours. The CEO and founder of Boom, Blake Scholl writes in a blog post, “Building a supersonic airplane is not easy — but it is important. While we love the hard engineering and technical challenges, what really drives us is the enormous human benefit of faster travel.”
Supersonic passenger jets will entirely change the idea of air travel for us. Scholl writes:
“Imagine traveling across the Atlantic [Ocean], getting business done [in Europe] and being home to tuck your children into bed, or saving two whole days of a typical round-trip itinerary to Asia. … When time is no longer a limit, where will you vacation? Where will you do business?”
The startup has raised $33 million in funding to develop the first supersonic passenger jet and call the first prototype “Baby Boom.” Scholl announced at the International Air Transport Association (IATA) Wings of Change conference that the first test flight of Baby Boom is planned for 2018. The full sized Boom will carry 55 passengers, in an all business class setting. The tests will be conducted in 2020 to acquire certification from the Federal Aviation Administration by 2023.
Will the end of Boom be the same as Concorde that retired due to high operating and maintenance costs? We highly doubt so.