As Boom Supersonic moves forward on their ultimate goal of building “history’s fastest supersonic airliner,” the Colorado-based company announced a strategic partnership with Flight Research, Inc. (FRI) aimed at bringing test flights for XB-1, Boom’s supersonic demonstrator aircraft, to the supersonic corridor stretching across the Mojave Desert.
The FRI partnership will provide flight test support to Boom with a T-38 Talon, a two-seat, twin-jet supersonic trainer, for pilot proficiency training as well as a chase aircraft during XB-1’s flight test program. Boom is also sub-leasing a portion of the FRI Headquarters, building a custom state-of-the-art space to support XB-1, including a fully instrumented flight test control room and an XB-1 simulator room with cockpit and visual displays.
“Flight Research provides essential equipment and superior facilities at the Mojave Air and Space Port, enabling us to finalize and fly XB-1,” said Boom founder and CEO Blake Scholl. “We specifically selected the T-38 for our flight test program because of its similar flight characteristics and ability to chase XB-1 through low-speed supersonic flight. This is an exciting time at Boom, and we’re glad to have a partner in FRI to help us get to the finish line.”
The agreement includes use of one of several FRI hangars located at Mojave Air and Space Port beneath the supersonic corridor. This custom space will give Boom a presence at XB-1’s testing site and allows it to reassemble XB-1 after transport to Mojave and immediately begin testing.
“With Boom, we’re presented with an opportunity to partner with a dynamic and ground-breaking organization that is challenging conventional wisdom about flying,” said Scott Glaser, senior vice president of operations at FRI. “This will be a new supersonic testing project for us, and we couldn’t be more excited to welcome Boom to this historic airfield and to outfit a space to meet their needs. We look forward to contributing to the return of supersonic commercial air travel.”
Boom’s XB-1 will help the company refine the design and engineering of Overture, Boom’s revolutionary 55-75 seat, Mach 2.2 supersonic commercial airliner. With an estimated $200 million price tag (plus options and interior) and a cruising altitude of 60,000 feet, the Overture is slated to begin flight testing in the “mid-2020s” according to Boom.
The XB-1 shares key technologies with Overture, such as advanced carbon fiber composites and a refined delta wing planform. Boom will use lessons learned from XB-1 flight testing to help optimize Overture and to prove in-flight key technologies are safe for efficient travel at supersonic speeds.
Established in 1981, FRI works in conjunction with a Mojave AERO Group Subsidiary, The International Flight Test Institute, to operate more than 40 aircraft while conducting flight test and certification for airframes, aircraft maintenance and modifications, avionics installations, weapons systems testing, test pilot training, advanced upset recovery pilot training, and commercial spaceflight training.