United Airlines (UA) recently announced an agreement with aerospace company Boom Supersonic to purchase 15 of the Denver-based company’s “Overture” jets.
United will work in tandem with Boom designers and builders to ensure the aircraft meet UA’s strict safety, operating, and sustainability requirements. If all goes well, United plans to add 35 aircraft to the order!
The Overture aircraft is today’s version of the Concorde, which flew under the Air France and British Airways flags until 2003.
The Overture will be the first commercial aircraft to operate at net-zero carbon emissions from its outset, thanks to its intended ability to run solely on sustainable aviation fuel.
Did we mention the Overture is also supersonic?
Expected to reach speeds over 1,100 miles per hour, the jet will fly at Mach 1.7 at 60,000 feet and will connect Newark to London in 3.5 hours!
San Francisco is only a 6-hour flight from Tokyo aboard the Overture as well. In comparison to the Overture’s 1,100mph speed, a typical commercial jet flies at approximately 560 miles per hour.
There are, of course, negatives to supersonic travel as well, but nothing United and Boom can’t handle. One major side-effect of supersonic travel is reaching supersonic speed itself and the sonic boom that speed causes.
There is a literal “boom” heard on the ground when an aircraft breaks the sound barrier and airlines and airport authorities must be mindful of this.
Also, supersonic travel typically burns much more fuel due to its power needs, so Overture designers must devise a plan to carry enough sustainable fuel to not only satisfy the flight plan but also remain net-zero carbon, as advertised.