If Sydney to Los Angeles in seven hours sounds like your kind of weekend away then you best start saving those flyers points.
Supersonic flights once championed by the controversial Concorde jet is set to return in the form of the Boom XB-1 which this week began testing its real life demonstrator craft in Colorado, USA.
The project already has the backing of Virgin Airlines and Virgin Galactic boss Richard Branson who has put up his hand for ten of the next-generation Concordes once they’ve passed all necessary flight safety regulations.
Currently the ‘Baby Boom’ test craft is a scaled down version of the full-sized commercial XB-1 which will take on popular international routes.
The flight time targets of the XB-1 estimates a Sydney to Los Angeles trip will take 7 hours to complete as opposed to the current 13 hours, costing passengers around AU$4,720 each way which could also include a refuelling stop.
The New York to London leg meanwhile will cut flight times right down to 3 hours from a conventional 8 hour flight, costing passengers AU$3,375 each way.
To put it all into perspective the final commercial XB-1 jet will travel at 2,700km/h in comparison to the current fleet of aeroplanes which can only manage between 800-965km/h.
Flight times aside, the Boom is also slated to be a far superior flight experience to the older Concordes in terms of comfort and seating space. The jet will cater to an all business class layout with 45 seats providing ample legroom, up-to-date charging ports and just one seat on either side of the centre aisle. Prime views will also be on offer with oversized windows on the XB-1.
According to Boom’s founder and CEO Blake Scholl, the XB-1 will succeed where the Concorde met its demise. Much of this has to do with application of modern technology and lightweight materials which works to keep ticket prices down without compromising on safety at such speeds.
“Sixty years after the dawn of the jet age, we’re still flying at 1960s speeds,” said Scholl.
“I don’t know a single person who wouldn’t want to get there in half the time, rather than have some free champagne. It won’t be a bucket-list purchase any more. There is a huge market and the margins are enormous.”
“Ultimately I want people to be able to get anywhere in the world in five hours for $100. To get there you have to improve fuel efficiency, but step-by-step supersonic air travel will become available for everyone.”
Boom will begin testing the first official XB-1 prototype at the end of 2017 with a projected launch of the commercial XB-1 by 2023.