Look! Up in the sky! It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s a…oh wait, it is a plane. Actually, it’s Richard Branson’s new supersonic passenger jet, and if you blink you might miss it. Engineered by an American start-up named Boom, Branson’s latest prototype wants to do in the skies what something like Hyperloop is trying to do on the ground. In other words, the XB-1 Supersonic Jet (nickname “Baby Boom”) wants to get you places faster. How much faster you ask? Try speeds of up to 2335 km/h, which would get you from Sydney to Los Angeles in about three and a half hours. Boom.
Being that Branson owns both Virgin Airlines and Virgin Galactic (which aims to put tourists in space), it’s safe to say the fearless entrepreneur isn’t merely blowing supersonic smoke up our rear ends. Hence, the XB-1 aeroplane might be zipping passengers across the world sooner than we think. Naturally, those passengers will be expected to pay for the privilege to the tune of about $5,000 per ticket.
The name Boom makes reference to the fact that the jet will be breaking to sound barrier as it soars from one coast to the next. Normally, such an endeavour causes a huge noise (aka a sonic boom), but early reports suggest that the sound will be reduced by a design that’s both economical and eco-conscious. In addition to that dreamy travel time, the jet will also host a luxurious interior with approximately 40 comfortable seats, big windows and plenty of room in the overhead compartments.
Says Branson, “As an innovator in the space, Virgin Galactic’s decision to work with Boom was an easy one. Through Virgin Galactic’s manufacturing arm, the Spaceship Company, we will provide engineering and manufacturing services, along with flight test support and operations as part of our shared ambitions…Ultimately I want people to be able to get anywhere in the world in five hours for $100.”