In 2022, the facility housing a full-scale iron bird used to test and integrate flight components and systems, software, and hardware-in-the-loop, The Iron Bird, was announced. Now, the facility and its iron bird are in development, as announced at this year’s Paris Air Show, along with significant Overture program advances and naming key tier-one structure suppliers for Overture’s wing, fuselage, and empennage: Aernnova, Leonardo, and Aciturri, respectively.
“Flight controls, electrical power, avionics, and landing gear will all be operable on the Overture iron bird. This helps us reduce engineering and integration risk throughout the life of the program,” said Blake Scholl at the Paris Air Show press conference.
Located in Centennial, Colorado near Boom headquarters, the 70,000-square foot facility is progressing toward major construction milestones.The completed work now includes digging pits to house the Overture landing gear assemblies and building the iron bird substructure to support the engineering test lab.
“Boom’s Iron Bird facility will allow engineers to test various Overture systems to ensure they function properly together,” said Brian Durrence, Chief Technology Officer for Boom. “Building the Overture iron bird infrastructure represents another important milestone in the realization of sustainable supersonic air travel.”
What is an iron bird?
Once complete, the iron bird will be used to test and integrate Overture flight components and systems, software, and hardware-in-the-loop. It is essentially a permanently grounded mockup of Overture that represents an opportunity to test and validate the aircraft’s critical systems.
Iron birds are common in aircraft programs, allowing engineers to test various aircraft systems to ensure they function properly together. The primary benefits for Boom include reducing technical and schedule risk and increasing safety for test pilots and engineers to test systems before flight tests.
Boom aims to take a holistic lifecycle approach to sustainability. As Boom rapidly matures and grows, we will prioritize emissions reductions and take tangible steps to reduce our footprint across all phases of our operations, aircraft and engine development programs, and our facilities.
While in the development phase of building The Iron Bird, we are considering all sustainability initiatives that can be executed throughout the grounds and future practices, supporting our commitment to net zero carbon by 2025. Specifically, we are implementing renewable energy throughout The Iron Bird. The facility will utilize onsite composting programs and operational recycling, recycling metals, plastics, and other materials.
Boom spoke with members of its engineering team last year to learn more about the facility and how it will contribute to the success of Overture. Read their comments about The Iron Bird here.
The Iron Bird at a glance
- 70,000-square foot facility
- Located in Centennial, Colorado
- Houses the full-scale Overture iron bird test model, integration test facilities, and systems integration bench
- Supports systems design for Overture with rapid prototyping and 3D printing capabilities
- Contains a dedicated extended realities area to utilize cutting edge AR/VR technology to aid in the Overture design process and enhance communication to the final assembly line