Want to get to London in less than four hours? Virgin mogul Sir Richard Branson is one step to closer to bringing the next generation of Concorde-style jet engines to the masses — or at least travelers who can afford a $5,000 ticket. Branson and Denver-based Boom Technology has recently unveiled a new prototype for a supersonic passenger jet that can take passengers from New York to London in just 3.5 hours according to reports. Through Virgin Galactic’s manufacturing arm, the Spaceship Company, we will provide engineering and manufacturing services, along with test support and operations as part of the agreement. Black Scholl, Boom’s founder and CEO (who happens to be a former pilot and Amazon.com executive) is ready to bring supersonic jet travel back into the mainstream. Test flights will begin next year in southern California with plans to launch the first commercial departures in 2023. He also said he’s confident that these flights will be different than the Concorde due to advances in technology and lighter materials. The company plans on fabricating the planes with lightweight carbon fiber composites — which it says makes it a quieter and more fuel-efficient jet. The XB-1, nicknamed the “Baby Boom”, has a cruising speed of Mach 2.2 — 1,451 miles per hour — which is 10% faster than the Concorde’s previous speed of Mach 2. It’s also 2.6 times faster than the average commercial airliner. At $5,000, tickets on the Baby Boom jet would cost about the same as tickets in business class. So, maybe you won’t get free champagne, but you will get there in half the time. Understand, supersonic flight has already been done. Remember the Concorde? The spectacular failure that lasted nearly three decades flew travelers across the Atlantic in three hours and 30 minutes for about $20,000 a ticket. But after years of losing money due to low production and high fuel costs, plus the industry downturn post 9/11, the Concord was mothballed in 2003. That was then, but Boom is now. With 50 years of advancements since the Concorde, Boom benefited from engine advances and other technology improvements, including fuel improvements. The Baby Boom is expected to have around 50 seats, whereas the Concorde had 92 to 128. boom says it plans to initially fly from London to New York, San Francisco to Tokyo and Los Angeles to Sydney. As far as how much investment Boom has received, Scholl won’t say. But partners include Virgin Galactic, which has already reserved the first 10 airplanes produced — at $200 million each. (Source: DenverPost)

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