Could Supersonic Flights from New York to Delhi in Just 7 Hours Become a Reality? A Close Look at Boom‘s Ambitious Plans

Hey readers, brace yourself for some potentially huge news in aviation: aerospace upstart Boom Supersonic aims to make flights like New York to Delhi possible in a once unthinkable ~7 hours instead of 15+ using new supersonic jets. As an industry analyst tracking Boom‘s progress, I wanted to give you an insider-view on their plans. It‘s an ambitious vision that could transform both travel and connections if achieved – but faces really big hurdles around technical viability, passenger demand, noise regulation and economics. Let‘s dig in on the possibilities and risks around supersonic.

Boom Seeks To Mainstream Supersonic Travel After Past Failures

You might remember the famed Concorde that zipped passengers in 3 hours from New York to London in just 3.5 hours back in the 90s/early 2000s. Pretty slick – but expensive tickets and huge operating costs limited routes, eventually forcing retirement. No one‘s made supersonic work since on a commercial scale despite massive potential demand for faster flights.

Enter Boom Supersonic, founded in 2014 right here in Colorado with the mission of making supersonic affordable AND sustainable so it finally goes mainstream. Tricky, but as an aero-expert tracking programs for 20 years now, I‘m intrigued by Boom‘s shot.

Their planned Overture airliner aims to fly 88 passengers at Mach 1.7 – over twice as fast as regular jets. That means trips from U.S. east coast to Europe in just ~4 hours. Even more impressive – ambitious middle-long haul routes like New York to Delhi could shrink from 16 grueling hours down to 7 hours once operational.

Now, past failed "concorde killers" temper my optimism – but Boom‘s progress on core technology development plus backing by the likes of American Airlines point to strong commercial potential if their upcoming Overture aircraft succeeds in testing.

Let‘s look at what‘s compelling – and still unproven – around the targeted 2029 launch…

Key Stats on Boom‘s Supersonic Contender: The Planned Overture Jet

First, here are some of the key targets Boom set for its flagship Overture jet to beat Concorde on cost, comfort and environmental issues:

SpecOverture Target
Cruising SpeedMach 1.7 (1,304 mph)
Range4,250 nautical miles (~7,870 km)
Passenger Capacity65-80 passengers
Engines4 wing-mounted turbofans
MaterialsComposite carbon fiber
Standard RoutesEx: NYC – London in < 4 hrs
Ultra Long RoutesNYC – Delhi in ~7 hrs
Entry into Service2029

Now as context – the retired Concorde hit Mach 2.0 with flights from London to NYC averaging about 3 hours 15 minutes. Impressive. But cramped cabins and engines guzzling 3,500 gallons per hour didn‘t help economics.

Boom aims to prove speed and passenger experience matter with 30+ inch seat spacing plus options for business class amenities. So far signs look encouraging…

But can their novel engine tech and aerodynamic refinements tame fuel costs while maintaining 1.7x the speed of sound? That answer dictates if an NYC-Delhi route ever goes supersonic.

The Key Ingredient: Boom‘s Custom-Built Engines Unlocking Efficient Speed

We aviation geeks get most excited about propulsion innovations enabling new capabilities. And Boom‘s newly unveiled Symphony engine program has me intrigued given its keys role trying to balance speed and efficiency.

Through optimized turbofan bypass ratios matched to a specially shaped nacelle and exhaust, Symphony aims to create lots of thrust while controlling noise on take-off. Clever variable exhaust geometry then reduces drag at altitude for smoother, sustained supersonic cruise. At least in simulations…

It‘s a tall order that explains why commercial supersonic flight vanished for nearly 20 years since Concorde. But as seen below, Boom believes its engines hit the economic sweet spot:

Concorde Snecma EnginesBoom Symphony Engines
Thrust38,000 lbf at take-offTarget of 35,000 lbf
Supersonic Cruise Fuel BurnVery High60% less projected
Engine Bypass RatioLowHigher bypass for sub/supersonic efficiency
Noise LevelsNoisy, Sonic BoomsReduced sonic boom signature

There‘s A LOT of testing needed to prove Symphony delivers as hoped. But conceptually to me as an analyst, the modifications seem logically targeted to move the operating economics in the right direction.

The Business Case: Why Airlines Are Betting on Supersonic

With questions around of past commercial failures with the Concorde, what makes Boom‘s economic proposition different this time?

Well, beyond engine targets for improved efficiency, Boom plans to leverage carbon composite construction and augmented manufacturing for assembly-line production of its Overtures. Think a supersonic jet…built like a 787 Dreamliner.

Simultaneously, its order book grows – United Airlines now plans to buy 15 jets with 35 more as options once service starts.

That mirrors interest from Japan Airlines, Virgin Atlantic and others betting passenger volume for time-sensitive routes nowjustify higher fares for supersonic service.

Forecasts suggest the market for cutting lengthy flights in half could support over 1,200 supersonic jets through 2040, if customer experience and environmental standards are met.

Concorde ProgramBoom Overture Plans
Passenger Capacity~100 seats65-80 seats projected
Units Produced20 aircraft1,200+ unit demand forecast
Aircraft Cost$200 million ea.Target under $200 million
Ticket Cost> $20K for some routesTarget of typical business class
Key RoutesTransatlanticMany more route pairs in range

There are blockbuster projections around demand for supersonic travel that make the Overture seem like a solid commercial play on paper. But past dream aircraft like Boeing‘s Sonic Cruiser teach us such ambitious programs often don‘t go as planned!

Timeline to Launch: Overture‘s Upcoming Major Milestones

If the order books seem robust, making this jet fly relies on brisk, error-free execution from Boom through this decade. Having tracked programs for years, I‘ll be looking for Overture to hit these upcoming milestones without delay or safety issues:

2025: Boom‘s Boston manufacturing facility operational

2026: Overture assembly underway, leveraging carbon composite expertise

2028: Overture rolled-out, ground testing begins

2029: Target for Overture‘s first test flight

2030-2031: Overture certified for commercial operations

That may seem reasonable for an all-new airframe and engine pairing. But given this program‘s complexity I suspect schedule slips. Let‘s hope Overture dodges delays experienced by Boeing on recent programs!

Conclusion: Cautious Optimism on Supersonic Becoming Mainstream

Aviation geeks like myself will be following Overture‘s progress closely through this decade as a bellwether for supersonic‘s true commercial potential.

To work for airlines and passengers fares must not just be less outrageous than Concorde…they‘ll need to compete with standard business class options to open supersonic to more travelers.

And that remains far from guaranteed despite Boom‘s slick designs and simulations. But conceptually, I‘m more hopeful than ever before that with enough capital and expertise, Boom could crack supersonic‘s code if their engines ultimately perform.

Maybe by end of this decade instead of grueling 16-hour slogs, we‘ll have the option for Delhi or Tokyo in 6-7 hours from New York with an acceptable fare. Boom still has lots to prove – but color me cautiously optimistic on their plans.

What do you think? Does supersonic seem viable as Boom promises? Or will the Overture suffer past pitfalls? I‘d love to hear your perspective! Please share any thoughts or questions in the comments.

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