World’s First Supersonic Private Jet Takes Flight Over California Desert

Nicknamed the 'Baby Boom'.

World’s First Supersonic Private Jet Takes Flight Over California Desert

Image: Boom Supersonic/DMARGE

Only a matter of weeks after we received news that the CEO of the world’s first ‘Private Jet Club’ had fled with $60 million of members’ money, the private jet sector was in much need of some good news. Thankfully, that’s come in the form of this story: the world’s first privately owned supersonic jet has taken flight.

The successful maiden flight of Boom’s XB-1 supersonic demonstrator not only marks the first private supersonic aircraft to take to the skies since the retirement of the Concorde over twenty years ago but could, if industry predictions come good, mark the beginning of a long-awaited return to supersonic commercial travel. Given the adorable nickname “Baby Boom”, the jet flew over the Mojave Air & Space Port in California.

The Concorde’s final flight in 2003 marked something of a technological retreat as well as the end of an era for premium travel, with the world having no civilian aircraft available for faster-than-sound air travel. NASA along with a slew of private engineering companies have been fervently working to resurrect supersonic air travel, aiming to reimagine it in a way that is both environmentally sustainable as well as economically viable for commercial airlines.

Though a long way from being realised on a mass scale, this could mark the beginning of that comeback. Piloted by Chief Test Pilot Bill “Doc” Shoemaker, the XB-1’s initial flight was modest in scale if potentially epochal. Accompanied by Test Pilot Tristan “Geppetto” Brandenburg in a T-38 chase plane, the XB-1 reached an altitude of 7,120 feet (2,170 metres) and speeds up to 238 knots (273 mph/440 kmh), all powered by three GE J85-15 engines.

Other high-spec highlights include the Baby Boom’s augmented reality vision systems, digitally-optimised aerodynamics, carbon composite construction, and supersonic air intakes. These features not only ensure that Bayb Boom reaches maximum speeds while upholding maximum efficiency but, more importantly, lay the groundwork for Boom’s ambitious supersonic jetliner — working name ‘Overture’ —which aims to carry up to 80 passengers at speeds of Mach 1.7.

Boom Supersonic’s founder and CEO, Blake Scholl, expressed his enthusiasm:

“Today, XB-1 took flight in the same hallowed airspace where the Bell X-1 first broke the sound barrier in 1947. I’ve been looking forward to this flight since founding Boom in 2014, and it marks the most significant milestone yet on our path to bring supersonic travel to passengers worldwide.”

Blake Scholl