top of page

Boom Supersonic And Dassault Systèmes Partner To Bring Back Supersonic Air Travel

There’s only been one successful supersonic passenger aircraft, the British/French airliner Concorde. The four-engine delta-wing craft was unveiled at the 1973 Paris Air Show, along with a Soviet competitor, the Tupolev TU-144, which crashed on takeoff there. The TU-44 hauled mail in the Soviet Union for several years in the 1970s, and carried passengers for less than a year in 1978 before another crash ended that program. The Concorde, meanwhile, ferried passengers across the Atlantic (New York to Paris or London and back) for decades, from 1976 to 2003.

In July 2000, however, an Air France Concorde crashed during takeoff in Paris, killing all 109 people aboard along with four on the ground. Not long after, there were worldwide air travel woes in the wake of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Those factors, along with rising maintenance costs and falling ticket sales, led to the suspension of the Concorde program in October 2003. Since then, only military planes have broken the sound barrier.

Now Boom Supersonic wants to bring faster-than-sound flight back to the civilian population. Founded in 2014, the company raised over $100 million in Series B funding, bringing their total funding to date to approximately $150 million.

Boom’s eventual production jetliner, the Overture, is intended to fly at Mach 2.2, and is a delta-wing like the Concorde. It will have a carbon fiber fuselage and triple turbofan engines. It’s being designed specifically to resolve some of the problems that the Concorde experienced. “Overture will initially accommodate 55–75 seats of all-business-class seating, priced at business-class fares,” said Blake Scholl, Boom's founder and CEO. “This initial configuration should make Overture’s load factors attractive and profitable, especially in comparison to Concorde which often flew mostly empty and was ultimately unprofitable for British Airways and Air France.”

The airline will have other features attractive to passengers. For example, it will have just one row of seats on each side – that’s right, no center seat and no choosing between aisle and window. “Inspired by the needs and desires of the passenger, Overture is designed to help airlines gain competitive advantage,” Scholl said. “Overture allows airlines to offer a revolutionary service to passengers while earning superior economic performance relative to current aircraft in an environmentally sustainable way.”

Before Boom is able to build the full-scale Overture airliner, however, they first have to demonstrate the basics. To do so, they’re developing a subscale prototype, the XB-1 (or “Baby Boom”), a two-seat demonstrator aircraft. In this phase, they’ve partnered with Dassault Systèmes, a global consultancy specializing in 3D design, engineering, 3-D CAD, modeling, simulation, and data and process management. Specifically, they’re using Dassault Systèmes’ new Reinvent the Sky solution, launched last year to support smaller innovators and aerospace startups. “Reinvent the Sky provides Boom with an efficient roadmap to implement Dassault Systèmes’ powerful suite of software tools to manage our entire product specification, design and manufacturing lifecycle,” said Josh Krall, Boom's cofounder and VP, Technology. “It allows Boom, as a new company free of legacy systems, to implement seamless design and engineering that maximizes collaboration, and therefore, efficiency. Boom is taking on a large challenge, and we are bringing the most modern tools to bear to help us drive forward.”

The company is moving forward aggressively with its prototype. “This December, Boom will roll out the XB-1 - it is set for first flight next year,” Krall said.

Boom intends to continue the partnership as they transition to full scale production. “Our intention with the development of Overture, our supersonic flagship, is to implement an end-to-end 3DEXPERIENCE platform,” Krall shared. “We are currently working on design requirements and specifications, using CATIA, a 3D CAD tool. We’ve also implemented ENOVIA, a product lifecycle management tool, to drive our collaborative program management and change management processes."

The partnership opportunities go beyond aircraft development. With 3DEXPERIENCE offering general business solutions as well, Boom intends to work with Dassault Systèmes over the long haul. “We look forward to using the supply chain management and manufacturing tools to enhance our collaboration both internally and externally as we continue the development of Overture,” Krall said.

The company sees tremendous opportunities on the horizon. “With current supersonic regulations, there are over 500 potential viable routes for Overture, including many in Asia, which are expected to account for nearly half of airline passenger growth over the next 20 years,” Scholl explained. “Imagine Tokyo to Los Angeles in six hours instead of ten hours, or Tokyo to Boston in less than nine hours instead of 13 hours – routes such as these account for projected demand for 1,000+ planes.”

It’s all about delivering on that original goal. “Boom’s vision is to make the world dramatically more accessible—reducing the cost, time, and hassle of travel,” said Scholl.

Note: Concorde history facts were found in this article. This article has been edited to update funding levels and to correct quote attribution errors.

Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn

0 views0 comments


bottom of page