United Orders Boom Supersonic Airliners

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United Airlines has signed an agreement with Boom Supersonic to purchase 15 Overture supersonic airliners once the model meets United’s “safety, operating and sustainability requirements.” Announced on Thursday, the deal also includes options for 35 additional aircraft. Boom is partnering with Rolls-Royce on a propulsion system for the Overture, which is expected to fly at speeds of up to Mach 1.7.

“United continues on its trajectory to build a more innovative, sustainable airline and today’s advancements in technology are making it more viable for that to include supersonic planes,” said United CEO Scott Kirby. “Boom’s vision for the future of commercial aviation, combined with the industry’s most robust route network in the world, will give business and leisure travelers access to a stellar flight experience.”

As previously reported by AVweb, Boom rolled out its XB-1 supersonic demonstrator, which was designed to demonstrate key technologies for the Overture model, in October 2020. Boom is planning to fly the Overture for the first time in 2026 and hopes to have it enter service in 2029. According to the company, the aircraft will be “optimized to run on 100% sustainable aviation fuel (SAF).”

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26 COMMENTS

  1. Aw, c’mon YARS, by 2029 SAF will be so cheap they will be giving it away! 😉

    I hope this “agreement” didn’t require United to actually put any money down. Even if Boom manages to produce a viable aircraft, most governments will probably not allow it to land in their country. Whether a fuel is sustainable or not, it still combusts and leaves sizeable amounts of CO2 and water vapor in the upper atmosphere. The climate change crowd will never settle for that.

  2. Long term planning (8 years out) and public relations kinda get fused together here. The “demonstrator” has yet to fly! Seems like the real need is for local flights from local airports, distances of 200 to 400 miles, with the option of connecting to hubs. Unless you live in a major city and are going to another major city, you are still out of luck. Aside from the sonic and carbon emission impacts, the price of building and maintaining these will be high, which translates into a very small market.

    • Concorde’s most profitable years were at the end when they lowered ticket prices and got a higher volume of passengers. It’s just that it wasn’t as profitable as their slower, larger aircraft. United is probably thinking that despite a small market, it will be a big enough market to make a profit while also serving as marketing prestige.

  3. you are missing the point. 1. Green Fuel – Check. 2. Marketing Wank – Check. 3. Publicity Flag Waving – Check. 4. Technology Innovation – Check. 5. CEO gets bonus from board for meeting initiatives – Check.

    United like every airline cannot make enough stupid moves fast enough so they have to go supersonic. My only hope is the airlines will go out of business again and this whole non sense will fade away like Fauci’s credibility.

  4. 1. Do we *have* to inject partisan politics and ad-hominem attacks into every single aviation discussion?
    2. I’ll take Fauci’s credibility (well established) over Anthony Dennis’s (not established) any day.

  5. As I recall reading somewhere I can’t remember, a lot of these ‘orders’ don’t actually involve money changing hands and rarely come to fruition.

    Basically, it’s press release – United gets to brag about going faster instead of breaking guitars, and Boom gets to brag that since Untied believes in us you investors should, too.

    United has a big out (and Boom a big hurdle) in that real money only appears if “safety, operating and sustainability requirements” are met.

    In other words, it’s only words until the plane actually flies.

  6. SHAZAM AEROSPACE SEEKING INVESTORS FOR WOOD BURNING STEAM TURBINE MACH 3 AIRPLANE:

    Shazam Aerospace CEO Larry S announced today that it intends to market a Mach 3 “Green” airplane once the design is finalized and the FAA invents new rules to allow open combustion woodstoves inside the airplane. First flight is planned for 2030. Ships 1 through 10 are already sold to the United Tree Huggers of America. Subsequent positions can be secured by sending $500K ASAP. Call 1-800-SHAZAM1.

    • Hate to burst your bubble CEO Larry, but that ain’t Green and if your going for sarcastic it was a little flat.

      i would have gone with nuclear powered, you still frost the environmentalists you seem to despise (who likes to breath clean air, right?) and make the plane sound more plausible….unless your trying to sell to the rubes that God is a better choice then science for staying alive, well then sure, they believe anything that is bad for them packaged as better than best.

    • The money is in the details. Supersonic aircraft all have similar design requirements, so there will be certain design features that are common to them all. The Tu-144 also looked like a copycat design of the Concorde, but many of the fine details were different enough that it was an inferior aircraft. With the improvements that have been made regarding aerodynamic modelling and analysis since Concorde was designed, I suspect many of the fine technical details are quite different than Concorde. Many of those details are likely hidden (such as structural or systems design) or would only be noticeable by someone who has the technical knowledge to know what they’re looking at (and I’m not claiming that I am such a person, but I know enough to know what I don’t know).

  7. I really hope they can pull this off. I know the chances are not great, but before I follow Chuck Yeager west, I want to say, like him, I flew faster than Mach1. Considering I missed my chance with Concord, (too expensive for my level of income at the time) I am really trying to think positive and ignore history. Call me a glass half full guy…

    • Keep hoping, Joe. Back in 1994, my Dad, a bomber crew veteran of WWII, took advantage of a package deal to commemorate the 50th anniversary of D-Day. It included a ship crossing from New York to England and France on the QE2, special seating at the D-Day Normandy celebration and a flight back home on the Concorde. He said it was certainly a once in a lifetime experience. But, he did admit that, other than seeing the Mach meter on the bulkhead count up above 1, he really couldn’t tell the difference.

  8. One of my major frustrations working in the OEM world was being embarrassed by the intelligence insulting marketing hype over nothing. Intelligence insulting marketing hype is not unique to aviation, but this industry has perfected it whether hyping the proverbial new grille or floating some wild claim like this one. Why not let it happen and then talk about it? How did Orville’s and Wilber’s circumspection and discreetness devolve into this?

  9. After checking a little more, it sounds even more like vaporware. The apparent source of the sustainable, zero net carbon fuel is from a company named Titan Fuel Forge. Titan claims to have a process that pulls carbon dioxide out of the air and converts it to a synthetic jet fuel that is chemically identical to the fossil variety. Titan says they have the technology working, but the current production capacity of one “Forge” is about 20 liters a week. Considering the amount of fuel needed to push even a fuel efficient jet at mach 2, Titan is going to need to produce a whole lot more than 20 liters/week. But, not to worry, their process is electric and powered by renewable sources, so I’m sure they will get there eventually. Also, if they don’t manage to meed the clean fuel demand, United has provisions to purchase carbon credits so they can burn the conventional stuff without guilt. Yeah, no problems here. 🙁

    • “Carbon credits.”
      Now THERE’S an engineering miracle.

      Maybe Minneapolis rioters could purchase “arson credits” from people who promise not to burn Target stores to the ground. Seems scalable, to me.

  10. All of this is well summed up in this…United continues on its trajectory to build a more innovative, sustainable airline and today’s advancements in technology are making it more viable for that to include supersonic planes,” said United CEO Scott Kirby. “Boom’s vision for the future of commercial aviation, combined with the industry’s most robust route network in the world, will give business and leisure travelers access to a stellar flight experience.”

    What is a stellar flight experience?

    Go high and supersonic in small seats, with questionable leg room, with little or no provision for inflight food, assessed through the same ticketing and boarding process as it’s slower airliner brothers, via an airline with poor customer satisfaction, terrible on time performance, thin profit margins, on a route network that connects less than 400 domestic airports. Boom is not making a supersonic airplane that has trans oceanic capabilities. Boom has yet to fly a 55 passenger airplane. Boom does not have a flyable airplane capable of toting 2 people. How can all this be connected to a “stellar flight experience”?

  11. Ha, ha, ha reading this was fun.
    Just like thinking Tom Cruise flew the F-14 was for real.
    Always good to dream.
    Natural laws, yes, those of Mother Nature are there no matter how much “money power” one might have.
    There is as was said before – a sucker born how often?