At the rollout of Boom’s XB-1s supersonic demonstrator, VP Julie Valk took the stage to answer a critical question: Why build a demonstrator aircraft with one seat before building the company’s 65+ seat supersonic airliner?
In other words, why not start with the airliner?
Valk, who leads commercial development and operations at Boom, explained that it’s common for aircraft manufacturers to build demonstrators. Manufacturers use them as research vehicles to conduct experiments and test the viability of new analysis methods, systems, configurations, equipment, and materials. Ultimately, learnings from demonstrators help to reduce risk during the design and build of the final product.
From an organizational perspective, building a test aircraft also supports the development of a highly-trained and adaptable engineering operation. At Boom, building XB-1 established a culture of safety and supersonic expertise as the company moved into the development and design phase of its commercial airliner, Overture.
Valk described how XB-1 supports Overture across four key areas: processes, design, sustainability, and relationships:
Enhanced and Proven Processes: Boom is using XB-1 to test tools, processes and designs intended for Overture. For example, Boom built an aerodynamic analysis tool for optimizing performance across the flight envelope, including supersonic and subsonic conditions. The team will validate this tool during XB-1 flight test and later apply it to Overture.
Supersonic Design Expertise: During the process of developing XB-1, Boom invested in building an engineering organization that’s proficient in supersonic design. Now, they’re applying this company-wide expertise to Overture.
Research into Sustainability: Boom’s commitment to sustainability encompasses all aspects of design and operation for both XB-1 and Overture. Boom is using learnings from XB-1’s net zero carbon flight test program to ensure that Overture is as sustainable as possible.
Established Relationships: With the completion of XB-1, Boom has shown the world that it can turn a paper plane into a physical aircraft. This demonstrated ability is opening doors for Overture, cementing relationships with partners, suppliers and customers that will last for decades.
“Thanks to the XB-1 demonstrator program, we’ve refined the perfect balance between startup creativity and advanced industry innovation,” concluded Valk. “Today, Boom is smarter, faster and more connected as a team.”