Bal­loons over Sri Lanka, Wi-Fi below

Bloomberg Businessweek (Europe) - - TECHNOLOGY -

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

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