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On this episode of AvTalk, we welcome aerospace journalists John Walton and Jon Ostrower to discuss United Airlines’ order for Boom’s Supersonic Overture jet, and the likelihood of the aircraft ever entering service.
Our discussion of United’s order for Boom’s proposed supersonic jet covers the challenges Boom, and any airline seeking to fly the supersonic jet, will encounter.
BOOM’s Overture aircraft currently lacks a critical component for flight: engines. While Rolls Royce is in talks to provide an engine for Overture, there is no deal—or design—ready at the moment.
Aircraft development is hard and expensive. Billions of dollars expensive. So far, Boom just doesn’t have enough cash to get it from paper to passenger airplane.
No one likes a sonic boom
Opposition to supersonic flights over land will be a main driver of where any future supersonic aircraft can operate. And that in turn, leads to…
The small market and multitude of constraints on any supersonic aircraft’s operations makes the economic case for such an airplane very challenging.
Environmental costs and challenges
Boom has said it’s designing the Overture to run on 100% ‘Sustainable Aviation Fuel’ (SAF). But that doesn’t solve the problem of having to burn many times more fuel than a comparable subsonic flight in the first place. Nor does it account for where the SAF is going to come from. SAF accounts for a tiny percentage of global fuel stocks at the moment and raising that share to the level necessary to support supersonic flights is by no means an easy feat.
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