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Boom Supersonic partners with Flight Research to test its XB-1 supersonic aircraft

Darrell Etherington

Supersonic aviation startup Boom is making progress on its XB-1 demonstrator aircraft, the airplane that will prove out its tech and pave the way for construction of its future production commercial supersonic passenger jets. The Denver-based startup has partnered with Flight Research, Inc., a company that specializes in flight testing and certification, as well as pilot training.

The XB-1 demonstrator aircraft will be tested with support from Flight Research, Inc., with Boom hoping to fly the aircraft over the Mojave desert in a stretch used for supersonic testing. As part of the deal, Flight Research will be providing Boom with a hanger at the Mojave Air and Space Port to fly from, and a T-38 Talon supersonic trainer aircraft, which will be used both to train the XB-1's test pilots and to trail the Boom aircraft for observation while it's in flight.

Boom is in the process of building the XB-1, which will be used to test and refine the final design of Overture, the passenger commercial airliner it eventually hopes to build. Already, Boom says development of the subscale XB-1 has led to improvements of the design elements it's going to be using to construct Overture. The flight controls system and engines on XB-1 are complete, and the company is now working on finishing touches on the cockpit construction, with about half of the work still left to go on the fuselage and a third of the construction of the wings still to be done. Its first flight is currently planned for sometime later this year.

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