Boom XB-1 Supersonic jet capable of mach 2.2 speeds set for first test flight in October

The Boom Supersonic XB-1 could fly Auckland-London in around 10 hours.
The Boom Supersonic XB-1 could fly Auckland-London in around 10 hours. Photo credit: Boom Supersonic

The team behind the design and construction of a new airliner expected to be the world's fastest has announced the first in a series of test flights will take place in October.

Boom Supersonic plans to operate a series of flights using the XB-1, a smaller jet built to test various technologies, as the company aims for the launch of its much larger Overture commercial airliner within the next 10 years.

The maximum speed of the new aircraft is mach 2.2, which is around 2700km/h.

Greed for speed - How does the Overture compare?:

  • Boeing's 777-300 has a top speed of 950km/h
  • The much larger, but mostly retired 747-400 can hit speeds of 988km/h
  • An Airbus A380 can, despite its size, get to a speed of 1185km/h
  • While an A320 cruises at around 903km/h
  • The historic supersonic Concorde had a maximum speed of 2179 km/h

The company has identified more than 500 routes internationally where the jet's speed would make it economically viable. Costing over NZ$380 million each and with a capacity of just 45 people, tickets won't be cheap.

As well as being fast, the XB-1 will also be clean - it's the first aircraft program to announce a 100 percent carbon-neutral flight test program.

The first flight will be streamed live online, with the majority of stakeholders watching from home to maintain social distancing.

It's scheduled to take place on October 8 (NZT) at an unknown location.