Imagine a jet that lets you fly around half the globe in three hours. That’s what a startup is promising in a few short years.
On Nov. 15, Denver-based startup Boom Technology showed off its supersonic passenger jet prototype that purports to cut the time it takes to fly from New York to London to three hours and 15 minutes, about half the time it currently takes.
The prototype “Baby Boom” is one-third (paywall) the size of its proposed supersonic jet, aptly called Boom, which will travel at mach 2.2—2.2 times faster than the speed of sound and 2.6 times faster than other airlines.
The project has attracted the attention of Virgin Group founder Richard Branson, who said he is buying the first 10 Boom jets, which cost $200 million apiece. “I have long been passionate about aerospace innovation and the development of high-speed commercial flights,” he said. His spaceflight company, Virgin Galactic, will also “provide engineering and manufacturing services, along with flight test support and operations.”
Baby Boom is scheduled to conduct its flight tests in late 2017, and the company expects the final Boom jet to begin carrying customers in the 2020s for $5,000 round trip. The team, led by Blake Scholl, a pilot who helped build Amazon’s marketing automation, spent two years designing the tapered carbon-fiber passenger jet. The project could cost over more than $1 billion (paywall), according to Wall Street Journal.