There was once a day when supersonic travel was one of the most romantic notions in aviation. The iconic Concorde was beautiful and entirely distinctive (and tickets were insanely expensive). Then, it was no more, and the concept vanished in thin air. But if you always wanted to fly faster than the speed of sound, Boom Supersonic, a startup based in Denver, is planning to make your wishes come true with 45-seat planes that can make the run from New York to London in three and a quarter hours (rather than today’s seven) for business class prices.
Today, Boom said it has raised $33 million in VC funding, bringing its total to $41 million, and that Y Combinator president Sam Altman has joined its board. It will use the money to finish building XB-1, a one-third-size demonstrator of its full-scale plane. Boom has already signed up Virgin Atlantic as a probable launch customer, as well as the blessing of a leading aviation industry analyst who suggests that if Boom’s cutting-edge technology can deliver on its expected price and ticket costs, airlines are likely to want at least 1,300 of the $200 million planes. Boom is hoping to start test-flying the XB-1 by year’s end and flying passengers aboard the full-scale plane in the early 2020s. You can read all about Boom’s ambitious plans here.