Balloons over Sri Lanka, Wi-Fi below
Innovation: Relax, your firearms are safe
and open-minded airport officials.
Today, Boom has 11 people, six of them pilots, working in the hangar’s upstairs offices. Unlike Scholl, these folks have serious industry bona fides. Joe Wilding, the co-founder and chief engineer, was a standout at three aerospace startups, designing passenger planes from scratch. Andy Berryann, the head of propulsion, used to work at Pratt & Whitney, building parts of the engine for a supersonic fighter jet. Other employees came from NASA, Lockheed Martin, and a Northrop Grumman subsidiary, Scaled Composites.
The Boom engineers say new materials and software made a Concorde replacement viable only in the last 10 years. Their plane will be built using a carbon-fiber composite instead of aluminum, making it lighter and able to travel faster. (Because of the heat generated by intense friction,
39 aluminum softens at speeds higher than Mach 2.) Boom’s software can also run millions of computer simulations a day on its designs, so the startup doesn’t have to spend months tweaking things in wind tunnels.
According to the simulations, Boom’s design is quieter and 30 percent more efficient than the Concorde was. Its 40 seats will be split into two single-seat rows, so everybody has a window and an aisle. To reduce weight, the seats are of the standard domestic first-class variety, so no laydown beds. To cut flight time, Boom’s plane will cruise at 60,000 feet, where passengers will be able to see the curvature of the earth, while going 2.6 times faster than other passenger planes. Scholl says about 500 routes fit the craft’s market, including a five-hour trip from San Francisco to Tokyo and a six-hour flight from Los Angeles to Sydney.
Inside the hangar, it quickly