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This is the XB-1 Supersonic, a new kind of plane that hopes to have passengers travelling at supersonic speeds by the 2020s – and it’s got the backing of Richard Branson.
Dubbed a mini-Concorde, the plane will break the sound barrier when it flies, getting passengers from London to New York in a zippy 3.5hrs (a flight that currently takes six to seven hours).
It travels at Mach 2.2 – that’s about 1,451mph and 10% faster than Concorde ever managed.
Concorde was retired in 2003 after proving too expensive to be worth running, but Boom Technology reckons it can use new technologies to make flights “efficient, economical and safe” when it carries its first passengers in 2020.
For now, it’s in demo mode – the XB-1 Supersonic Demonstrator, which was unveiled to the aeronautics industry yesterday at an event at Centennial Airport, Denver, will start flying in 2017 to allow Boom Technology to run tests.
It’s about a third of the size of the full plane and at the moment, the prototype plane can only carry a pilot.
When it goes into commercial operation there will be room for 44 passengers, each with their own window and aisle seat, and dedicated overhead bin.
Despite its bombastic name, Boom Technology claims that the XB-1 has a quieter ‘boom’ than Concorde did, and hopes that it can convince the US government to lift its ban on supersonic travel over the United States.
To get around this in the meantime, the company says it will run flights that mainly cover the sea – London to New York, LA to Tokyo – and fly sub-sonically over US land.
To nab a seat on the supersonic planes, you’re looking at around $5,000 per person (about £4,000) – although the company also says its working to reduce that price in the long run.
Given its claim to be the “fastest civil aircraft ever made”, it’s no wonder that Richard Branson and his Virgin Galactic cohorts are getting in early – they will be supporting Boom Technology with research and development in return for dibs on the first ten planes.