Frequently asked questions

Flying supersonic

Why supersonic flight?

The world is better off when families can spend more time together, businesses have more opportunities to succeed in our global economy, and world leaders can foster greater understanding in person. By leveraging the transformative power of supersonic air travel and speeds twice as fast, Boom is removing the barriers to experiencing the planet and making the world dramatically more accessible.

What will the onboard experience be like?

We’re designing the end-to-end passenger experience to provide a tranquil and stress-free journey from the moment you step aboard Overture. Imagine a large personal window, direct aisle access, and dedicated underseat storage. We are also exploring innovations to enhance health, safety, and comfort for passengers.

With seat dimensions comparable to short-haul first class, we’re implementing design improvements to optimize the passenger experience. On flights over 4-6 hours, airlines may also offer a first-class, lie-flat experience.

What does it feel like to fly supersonically?

Supersonic aircraft fly higher than existing airliners, cruising at up to 60,000 feet. At this altitude, you fly above most of the turbulence, allowing a smoother ride than on subsonic aircraft. Looking out your window, you will see the darkness of space above you and the curvature of the Earth below.

Passengers won't even notice breaking through the "sound barrier," which is inaudible and uneventful. On Concorde, announcements were made and champagne was served to celebrate the moment, which otherwise would have gone unnoticed.

How much will tickets cost?

Final ticket prices will be set by airlines, but we’re designing Overture so that airlines will be able to offer fares similar to today's long-haul, business-class travel. Our ultimate vision is to reduce operating costs to make supersonic flight even more widely affordable and accessible.

Is it safe to fly supersonically?

Boom is building its own safety organization from the ground-up. The in-house safety program ensures we meet or exceed all federal safety standards for XB-1 and Overture.

Are there health concerns associated with supersonic flight?

A common misconception is that supersonic flights carry elevated radiation exposure for passengers. Overture will fly higher and faster than existing aircraft, but because it will spend less time in the thinner atmosphere, there will be no more radiation exposure than on subsonic flights of similar distances.

Overture will also likely be the first new commercial aircraft brought to market after COVID-19 and is designed to minimize potential health risks to passengers in the event of another pandemic.

Overture and XB-1

What are the differences between XB-1 and Overture?

XB-1 is the demonstrator airplane for Overture and a critical step toward mainstream supersonic travel. XB-1 will prove key technologies for safe, efficient, and sustainable supersonic travel.

Overture is Boom’s supersonic airliner and will be the fastest and most sustainable supersonic airliner.

When will supersonic flights start?

XB-1 will roll out on October 7, 2020 and begin flight tests in 2021. XB-1 is the demonstrator airplane for Overture and a critical step toward mainstream supersonic travel. XB-1 will prove key technologies for safe, efficient, and sustainable supersonic travel.

Boom is currently progressing through the conceptual design phase of Overture, its commercial airliner. The certification program will involve five flight test aircraft with expected rollout in 2025 and completion of type certification in 2029.

How do the economics compare to existing aircraft?

We are targeting operating costs per seat-mile comparable to subsonic business class.

What is the fuel economy of Overture?

We are targeting fuel burn per seat-mile comparable to subsonic business class.

Will Overture or XB-1 use afterburners like Concorde?

No. Thanks to five decades of technological progress in propulsion design, Overture will be able to perform all phases of flight, from takeoff through supersonic speeds, without afterburners—it’s a much more efficient and reliable aircraft.

XB-1’s off-the-shelf engines will require afterburners to fly supersonic.

Will Overture and XB-1 undergo certification?

Overture will go through the same certification process as all other commercial airplanes flying today. Type certification is a rigorous, multi-year endeavor that will put our aircraft through every imaginable situation—lightning strikes, heavy crosswinds, extreme hot and cold temperatures, and simulated emergencies are just a few of the conditions we’ll test. In addition, as Concorde did, we expect to comply with special conditions related specifically to supersonic flight.

XB-1 will receive an airworthiness certificate in the experimental R&D category.

Will Boom require special ground equipment or runways?

Boom is designing Overture to be compatible with existing ground support equipment, gates, and runways. It will be able to operate out of all major international airports without any modifications to terminal design or runway length.

What is the aircraft's range? How will you handle longer transpacific routes?

Overture’s range is long enough to make it across the Atlantic Ocean without stopping. On longer routes, such as across the Pacific, the airplane will make a brief tech stop to refuel. We’re taking this opportunity to rethink best practices for fuel stops—minimizing time on the ground and disturbance to passengers. The entire process will take less than an hour, and passengers won’t have to deplane. All of our quoted route times include these stops, when necessary.

What does the airplane cost?

The sale price of the aircraft is $200M, plus options and interior. On an available premium-seat-mile basis, Overture is meaningfully less costly to operate than subsonic widebody aircraft. Overture will be profitable on more than 500 transoceanic routes. In many of these markets, Overture offers airlines more attractive profit margins than subsonic aircraft.

Will your aircraft be offered as a private jet?

Our focus with Overture is to develop and build a commercial supersonic airliner for anyone who can afford a business-class ticket, not a private jet. However, our airliner can also be configured as a private, cargo, or military aircraft.

Supersonic economics

Supersonic flight has been promised for decades. Why is it finally coming now?

Historically, supersonic flight has not been economical enough for routine commercial operations. Today, we finally have the technology for efficient, economical, and safe supersonic flight. Key advancements, such as composite aerostructures and high-temperature material systems, have only recently been accepted by the FAA for use on commercial aircraft.

Concorde wasn't an economic success, and no other supersonic aircraft has come to market since. Why will Boom succeed?

By improving efficiency over Concorde’s half-century-old airframe and engines, Overture will reduce operating costs enough to turn a profit at business-class fare levels that the market already supports.

Boom is leveraging scientific advancements in aerodynamics, materials, and propulsion that will enable efficient and profitable supersonic travel.

Will passengers have to pay extra for speed?

While final ticket prices will be set by airlines, we’re designing Overture to have fares similar to today’s long-haul, business-class travel.

How will supersonic flight affect the competitive landscape?

Supersonic travel represents a significant shift in the competitive landscape. Today's carriers have thin margins and often only differentiate themselves on the comfort of their seats, the quality of their food, and the friendliness of their crews. But when time becomes a dimension for differentiation, airlines operating supersonic airliners can set themselves apart.

Therefore, the first airlines to adopt supersonic jets will enjoy a significant competitive advantage. Offering dramatically faster itineraries will give operators an edge in attracting their competitors’ most profitable premium passengers. A halo effect increases market share even on subsonic routes, as customers prefer to earn loyalty points with carriers who offer supersonic service.

Noise levels

Won’t the sonic boom be loud?

Overture flights will focus on 500+ primarily transoceanic routes that benefit from supersonic speeds—such as New York to London or San Francisco to Tokyo. Overture won't generate a sonic boom over land cruising at subsonic speeds. Its passengers won't even notice breaking through the "sound barrier," which will be inaudible and uneventful.

What about takeoff noise?

There will be no increase to existing noise contours. Overture is being designed with the latest noise-reducing technologies. Boom is designing Overture with noise-sensitive communities in mind, and Overture will be a “good neighbor” to people living and working near airports. The overall noise footprint of Overture will be similar to the quietest long-haul aircraft it replaces.

The environment

What steps is Boom taking to make supersonic travel environmentally sustainable?

Boom is the first commercial aircraft manufacturer to incorporate sustainability into vehicle design from day one. We are maximizing Overture’s fuel efficiency, minimizing noise, and ensuring that its engines can accommodate sustainable aviation fuels (SAF). Boom is planning a LEED-certified assembly line, and Overture will be designed with aircraft end-of-life recycling in mind. We are targeting per-seat fuel efficiency similar to subsonic business class, taking advantage of technological progress in engine and airframe design.

In terms of net emissions, we want a flight on Overture to be better for the environment than a subsonic business-class ticket. We are investing in the future of sustainable supersonic air travel, embracing the great potential of alternative fuels and high-quality carbon offsetting. We include the costs of carbon offsetting and SAF use in Overture’s operating economics, ensuring that the airplane can be both environmentally sustainable and profitable for airlines.

For more information, please visit boomsupersonic.com/sustainability

For our fans

I'd like to get some Boom t-shirts, models or other swag.

Thank you for your excitement! For Boom t-shirts, models or other swag, visit our online store.

Can I invest in the company?

Boom is privately held and funded by individual investors, venture capital funds, and future airline customers.

Can I tour your offices?

Unfortunately, we are unable to offer tours. As we build XB-1, we will share our progress on our website and social media, so check back often.

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