Boom jets, the "supersonic planes" and Virgin
Boom wants to build ultra fast planes.
Specifically, they’re trying to design and build a supersonic passenger plane that goes 2.2x the speed of sound. If all goes to plan, they’ll be able to shuttle people from New York to London in 3.5 hours, and SF to Tokyo in 4.5.
Sound crazy? I wouldn’t disagree. It’s worth noting that the company is in the very early days for something as intensive, massive, and hugely expensive as designing and producing a passenger aircraft. They’re still working on their first prototype, and hope to fly it by late next year.
But it’s also worth noting that the team behind the plane has some serious talent in its blood: the company’s 11 employees have collectively contributed to over 30 aircrafts — having worked on things like the autopilot system on the 787, fighter plane engines, and flight dynamics on Spaceship Two. Some of these guys are ex-NASA, ex-Lockheed, or ex-Boeing.
Today, another big name is getting attached to the project: Virgin.
Boom is announcing today that Richard Branson’s Virgin Group has optioned ten planes, in a deal ultimately valued at about $2 billion dollars. Boom also says they’ve optioned 15 additional planes to a European carrier that it declined to name, bringing the total value of the optioned planes up to $5 billion.
Now, this doesn’t mean that Virgin has bought the planes — it’s a bit too early for that. They’ve signed a letter of intent, meaning that, having seen the nitty-gritty specs of the plane and the company’s plans for moving forward, they intend to buy 10 planes if everything comes together as planned.
But it also looks like Virgin is going to help make that happen: Boom founder Blake Scholl tells me that Virgin Galactic’s space division, The Spaceship Company, has committed to helping build and test the planes, including helping with the supersonic testing when the time comes.
Update: And now from the other side of the agreement, a Virgin Group spokeswoman confirmed their plans to The Guardian:
“We can confirm that The Spaceship Company will provide engineering, design and manufacturing services, flight tests and operations and that we have an option on the first 10 airframes. It is still early days and just the start of what you’ll hear about our shared ambitions and efforts.”
This company should be a wild one to watch. Building most real, physical things is hard — but building a passenger plane that goes faster than any before it, including the ill-fated Concorde? Thats a whole new level of hard.
Boom is funded by Y Combinator, Sam Altman, Seraph Group, 8VC, and other unnamed angels. Boom declined to comment on whether Virgin was providing capital as part of the deal.
Boom time! The incredible planes will bring about a new era in supersonic travel
- Boom jet claims to offer 'affordable' supersonic travel with 3.5 hour journey from London to New York priced $5000
- Concorde 2 described as 'highest rollercoaster in the world' due to steep ascent, descent and high speed of flight
- Antipode could travel 12,430 miles in under an hour, allowing a journey from London to New York in just 11 minutes
Last week Richard Branson announced Virgin is set to order 10 supersonic Boom jets, which the manufacturer claims will herald a new era of 'affordable' supersonic travel.
While Boom jet will fly at 1,451mph - about 100mph faster than Concorde - and reach New York from London in just three three and a half hours, it's not the only trailblazing aircraft of the future.
From flight paths that reach the Earth's upper most atmosphere to aircraft with rocket boosters, MailOnline Travel rounds up the concept planes set to transform journey times and kick start supersonic travel.
Sir Richard Branson is set to order 10 supersonic jets, which the manufacturer claims will herald a new era of 'affordable' supersonic travel. The airline tycoon has confirmed that Virgin has options to buy 10 of the recently revealed supersonic
A mockup of the craft at Heathrow - its founders hope it will use existing airports once tests are complete
The firm hopes London to New York could be one of its most popular routes, with a 3.6 hour saving on a normal flight
The 40-seater aircraft, Boom is being built by former Amazon executive Blake Scholl to fly from London to New York in three and a half hours with a ticket costing $5,000. Scholl said about 500 routes fit the craft's market, including a five-hour trip from San Francisco to Tokyo and a six-hour flight from Los Angeles to Sydney.
According to the simulations, Boom's design is quieter and 30 percent more efficient than the Concorde.