Faster then Concorde, will this jet take the world by storm?

Concorde, the airliner that changed the way we flew… for about 30 years. Concorde’s demise was really to do with economics, planes that could fly slower burned less fuel and she was getting old, 27 years old in fact. A year earlier the A340 had been introduced with Virgin Atlantic and even with its 4 engines she managed to burn fuel at only 3.49L per 100km, compare that to the Concorde 17.9L per 100km and it’s clear that Concorde was done. But what if she wasn’t?

Fast forward 17 years, the year is 2020 and many airlines have retired the now inefficient A340 while orders and deliveries for Boeing’s 787 and Airbus’s A350 are coming in thick and fast. But there’s one company who are still living in 2003, or are they? Boom Supersonic was founded as a startup in 2014 and have been working on supersonic aircraft ever since and their flagship plane, well it’s something to be in awe about. Boom’s Overture will have no low sonic boom, a top speed of Mach 2.2, fuel efficiency that matches modern-day airliners seat per km ratio and seat prices that match business class on subsonic aircraft. Overture could theoretically fly from Sydney to Los Angeles in 6hrs and 45mins, almost halving the current subsonic flight time while it could cross the pond much like Concorde did in 3hrs and 15mins. Boom expects to have built 1,000 of the supersonic jets by 2035 and plans to have it flying commercially by the middle of the decade. But as much as this sounds amazing and perfect there are a few issues.

The aircraft’s engines which are being developed by Rolls Royce have not been invented yet and the English company is struggling to stay alive after major loses. Another issue is that the range isn’t great and by not great I mean that Sydney to Los Angeles flight would require a stop, be more subject to turbulence with its smaller airframe and only be about 3.5 hours quicker due to the revised 8hr 30min flight time and sure I’m not going to say no to a Hawaiian stopover but when if I’m travelling for business I’d honestly rather just sleep on a non-stop then be woken up due to a stopover in Hawaii.

So what now for the company? Well, they are testing a miniature version of the plane called XB-1 later in the year to test the concept before primarily focusing on Overture, the planned market entry date is between 2025 and 2027 and by then it’s likely that the 787 won’t be new or advanced, I’d imagine it would be getting retired. If Overture wants to succeed it must be as efficient and profitable as airliners that won’t exist for half a decade, it also needs to not make the same mistakes are Concorde because at the end of the day most people would rather an aircraft that is available to the average joe then a gimmick.

What do you think?

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Is this the future? Maybe, just maybe image credit

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That would be cool, but I don’t think this will be the future of aviation 😕

I would love to see those planes in the sky, but if they’re not enough efficient I don’t see a good future for her 😞

Hopefully I’m wrong 🙂

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Am I the only one kinda surprised they have a design but no engine?😂 I feel as though the engine should come first…

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This is actually typical, first they create the basic design of the aircraft and then they approach engine manufacturers to either adapt an existing product or develop a new one. This means that the engine can be tailored to the plane and increases the efficiency of the aircraft.

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I’d asume the “engine” has already been designed per se, as in specifications for the engines have already been implemented into the design so that the overall airframe could also be engineered. If I had to take a guess, I’d say the company is having trouble engineering an engine that can produce the thrust needed to reach Mach 2 while also not chugging gas.

Overall though, I’d be very surprised to see a supersonic aircraft reach the efficiency of modern high bypass turbofans within the next few decades.

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All that is fun on paper and indeed very clever, but when you factor in the operational cost of this thing, as well as laws on supersonic flights, you quickly find out that it will be just a prototype. Also, speed matters on long distances, which this contraption will require time consuming stopovers. So, in essence, it might be an engineering marvel, but it looks like another financial disaster

The have contracted RR to build a suitable powerplant

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I’m curious to see how this goes. I think though the fact that the Concorde has its life cut short is one of the bigger misconceptions in aviation. The plane had a pretty average run of 26 years. Sure some planes outlast that, a lot do, but a lot also don’t, the L-1011 an aircraft that by all means was ahead of its time got the same 26 years, the MD-11 only flew passengers for 24 years. Now there is the caveat that both of those planes got second lives hauling cargo or in the case of L-1011 launching rockets, but neither of those were an opportunity the Concorde would ever be remotely suited for. The concord was retired because the aging planes needed more maintenance, and in the post 9/11 world the planes didn’t return the profit they once did. I think what’s more telling is that there was no replacement for it. Only part of that was fuel economy, the other often overlooked problem was range and that ever pesky sonic boom. Range and fuel efficiency go hand in hand and I think both are likely to be solved with modern technologies, that second part though is the tough one. The planes were only able to go supersonic over the ocean, combine that with there range and they were only suitable for routes between US east coast to European west coast cites. There are a lot of technology’s in development to make sonic booms quieter, that’s especially important to the military so it’s def ring looked into. I think how well or if they can pull off that second one will determine the success of this plane, and the concept. With expanded range you can do transatlantic and transpacific routes so I think should it do what it says on the tin it will have some success, but to really be a kinda common airliner it needs to tackle that sonic boom problem. Many important business routes take place over mostly populated places, there would obviously be a huge market for getting across the US in just an hour or two, or Europe to the Middle East in an afternoon, that is really what this plane needs to be a big hit imo.

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Where’s Texas? 😛


Seriously, I’d like to see how this goes. For as much as I hate technology and computers in planes, this is really interesting and I really hope that it succeeds.

If it doesn’t work, just re-engine the Concorde. 🙃

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If it has can have the same fuel economy as a modern day airliner, then i can see this being useful on longer less popular routes, and of course business routes, fly across the country from LAX-JFK do whatever, and be home in time for dinner, but a lot would have to happen and change regarding super sonic jets and passenger use, pretty sure i read somewhere the USA didn’t want the concord landing really anywhere else other then JFK that way they didn’t have to fly over the states, i don’t remember everything but this could be a huge success if everything goes right

I disagree with this statement. The 787 is going to stay for long, I don’t see it going out anytime soon (At least not until the 777X & 737 MAX 8 are in the game).

There’s a lot more than that that will be needed to make this work. This isn’t something like the A320 neo, or 777 X where just some new engines and tiny changes were needed to keep it up to spec. Supersonic flight has come leaps and bounds since the early 70s when the Concorde was on the drawing table. The engines are a large part of it, it’s able to use regular turbofans no afterburners, which is a huge, not under statable, improvement. Afterburners consume as much as 80% more fuel for what is usually only a 10-20% increase in thrust. But part of this ability to do this without afterburners is only because they can use carbon composites which are lighter and give them much greater design flexibility and allow them to optimize things you simply can’t do practically in aluminum. Here’s a good read from there site about the engines specifically, but this is a change on almost every level. I think I might have taken your comment too seriously though, but just some good information.

https://blog.boomsupersonic.com/why-we-dont-need-an-afterburner-a4e05943b101

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Very true, this plane does things those can’t but it’s a two way street. They haven’t said a range yet, but they show some times for some popular routes the longest of which is LAX to Sydney, let’s say that’s at it near it’s max endurance and it’s still ~2,000 nautical miles down on a 777x-8, the 787 and the A350 also definitely beating it in endurance. Combine that with the fact this this plane will likely not be able to stretch its muscles over population and it is hardly an end all be all, but could very well be a huge step towards a faster future.

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Thanks for the info, @KPIT! It was meant more as a light-hearted joke, but hey, the info you’ve provided is great! 🙂

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