Boom Technology Gears Up For Supersonic Jet Launch
Blake Scholl’s startup company, Boom Technology, has designed a prototype for its supersonic jet built for a transatlantic flight. How did an independent company manage to get so far in the industry?
Boom Technology Airliner Concept in flight.
Blake Scholl was an outsider in the aviation field. Sure, he was an amateur pilot and longtime fan of aviation, but his background and early work weren’t exactly geared towards aerospace. A computer science graduate, Scholl worked at Amazon.com Inc.’s advertising division until he founded his own startup, Kima Labs, which was then absorbed by Groupon Inc. So how exactly did someone involved with selling online coupons go to building ultra-fast aircraft?
Scholl left Groupon in 2014 while wondering why nobody seemed interested in building a supersonic jet. His passion and interest drove him to find answers from experts in the field, contacting everyone he knew in the industry to help him understand the science behind supersonic aircraft and why it was so difficult to create them.
He did his own research, attended an airplane design class, and studied physics at Khan Academy to equip himself with enough information to at least try solving the puzzle.
The Birth of Overture
In the following years, Scholl would be talking to people who had connections with places like NASA, SpaceX, or Lockheed Martin. He started assembling a small team of experts interested in helping him realize his goal of building a supersonic jet. By 2015, he already had about a dozen members on his team optimistic that they would be ready to fly their aircraft by 2017.
Fast forward to 2017 and Boom Technology was well within their desired schedule. They designed a supersonic jet built out of carbon fiber to use its lightness towards increased speed, and run it on readily available, fuel-efficient engines. Modern software would be added to perform millions of simulations at a low cost and without any risk, unlike before when you had to spend millions just to run a single wind tunnel test.
While these advancements might make building the plane sound easy, it comes with its share of challenges. Boom Technology wanted to use J85-15 engines, older machines used in military jets that could power a supersonic plane at a relatively low cost, but they faced difficulties importing the engines from other countries. Luckily, Scholl’s connection-building paid off, and they were able to secure four copies of the machine safely stocked in Florida.
With all components secured, the Overture is set to have its demonstrator, the 71-foot XB-1, launch its first flight in 2021. Assuming everything goes as planned, the company will then focus on completing Overture so that it can start carrying passengers as early as 2029.
Plans for the Future
The 199-foot Overture hopes to carry 65-88 passengers inside its spacious aircraft cabin, with each passenger seated at the aisle or by the window.
The roomy setup aims to maximize the comfort of the passengers as the jet displays its supersonic speed: the aircraft is expected to fly twice as fast as today’s commercial airplanes. The 10-hour flight from San Francisco to Tokyo, Japan will now only take a little over 6 hours, and the time to go from New York to London will drop from roughly 6 to 3 hours.
Of course, maintaining a supersonic jet will not be cheap, so the ticket prices are expected to be set at business-class rates at the least.
Overture probably won’t be able to test flights until 2026, and even after that, it’ll take a few more years of additional testing and tweaking to ensure that the jet can safely carry its passengers at superspeed. However, Scholl is confident that Boom Technology can complete this breakthrough in aviation.
Without the right components, Scholl wouldn’t have been able to complete his design for Overture. Getting quality materials for your aircraft is half the battle, and Knisley Welding Inc. prides itself in providing only the best services and products for its clients. With more than 400 PAA-approved parts to choose from, Knisley Welding Inc. will surely be able to help you with all your aircraft-related needs.