Nestled near the landing strips of Centennial Airport is a group of 90 people working hard to bring commercial supersonic aircraft from dreams to reality.
And they’re getting closer.
Boom Technology, which does business as Boom Supersonic, just moved into its new 49,420-square-foot headquarters in October at 12876 E. Adams Aircraft Circle in Englewood. It features an open office floor plan and a hangar big enough for a supersonic plane, which the company will begin assembling in the spring.
“The company has moved from an initial phase of conceiving this idea of building a supersonic airplane to doing a lot of engineering, and now, we’re building our first plane,” said Andy Cipra, Boom’s head of marketing. “So in order to do that, we need the space both to house the team that’s going to build that, as well as the space to actually go build an airplane.”
Since last year, the 4-year-old startup has doubled its workforce to 90 employees.
“Our plan is to roughly double the size of the company in the next year,” Cipra said.
Boom’s goal is to build commercial planes that break the speed of sound, flying at Mach 2.2. Flights from Shanghai to San Francisco, for example, would take six hours instead of the 11 they take now.
Cipra said the goal is to keep costs the same as commercial business class flights on a subsonic plane (one that flies slower than the speed of sound), in the $3,000 to $4,000 range.
“The way that we’ve designed the plane is to make it such that the economics of an airplane are similar to the business-class cabin on a subsonic plane, so that’s a design constraint for us,” he said.
Right now, Boom has a 2-year-old model aircraft, which is one-third the size of its planned passenger plane, on display in its hangar. In the spring, Cipra said, the company will begin assembling its first supersonic jet, the two-seater XB-1.
Once the plane is completed, Cipra said the company will transport it by truck to the Mojave Desert, where two pilots will test it in late 2019.
“It’s really meant for us to validate our design,” Cipra said. “We’ve already designed the passenger plane here as well, so what we learn here from the XB-1 is going to help us ensure that we’ve got the right design for our passenger plane.”
Boom is targeting the mid-2020s as the year it will deliver its full-size service-ready aircraft, which will seat 55 passengers. The planes are expected to retail for $200 million.
Boom’s Englewood headquarters also feature a flight simulator and a mockup of what the interior of the planes will look like. The startup even has passenger chairs on display from the Concorde, the supersonic jet that ceased its transatlantic flights in 2003.
Boom, founded four years ago by Blake Scholl, has received $41 million in funding so far.
Hey Boom: Remember that scaling engineered designs is not perfect.
In ONE significant respect, Boom is being technically more practical than Aerion. That being that they intend to fly their product at Mach 2.2. I find Aerion’s idea of a Mach 1.4 jet nonsensical. This has nothing to do with the Aerion AS2 Mach 1.4 not being fast enough for customers. It has everything to do with the AS2 not being fast enough for PHYSICS!
At about Mach 1.0~1.1 drag peaks at about 400% that incurred at Mach 0.80~0.85. It then falls. At Mach 1.4 It is still about 250% higher than at Mach 0.8. By the time you get to Mach 2 it is only 50% higher. Flying at Mach 1.4 ensures that you not only take longer to get where you are going but that you burn more than twice as much fuel getting there as you would flying close to Mach 2 so you probably wouldn’t even have the range to get there. Flying “Boomless” at Mach 1.1 is even more ridiculous. That is exactly the worst speed to fly at — you are barely faster than subsonic jets and you are burning 4 times the fuel . There is a reason the Concorde flew at Mach 2.
The XB-1 however represents a missed opportunity. Instead of being an experimental 2-seater they could have made it an experimental 4-seater which can then be productized as a very attractive “toy jet” for the rich and famous.