Supersonic airliner manufacturer Boom Supersonic has received an experimental airworthiness certificate from the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for its technology demonstrator aircraft the XB-1 as it continues ground testing. 

The company is hoping to build the world’s fastest airliner, the Concorde-like Overture, and is using the XB-1 aircraft to demonstrate the tech that will be used when building the final airliner. 

In addition to receiving the FAA certificate, the XB-1 has begun taxi testing at the Mojave Air and Space Port in California and recently received letters of agreement from the relevant airspace authorities for flights over the Mojave desert and letters of authorisation for its two test pilots. 

Founder and CEO Blake Scholl said: “The recent progress made towards XB-1’s first flight reflects the team’s collective efforts to build and safely fly the world’s first independently developed supersonic jet.” 

The smaller demonstration aircraft is 71 feet long with a carbon composite and titanium fuselage housing three General Electric J85 engines capable of a combined maximum thrust of 12,300 pounds. 

Boom Supersonic has been taxi testing the XB-1 ahead of its first flight

First rolled out in October 2020, the XB-1 has since been moved from Boom’s hangar in Centennial, Colorado for testing in Mojave, CA where Chief Test Pilot Bill “Doc” Shoemaker and test pilot Tristan “Gepetto” Brandenburg are also expected to fly it for the first time. 

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Shoemaker said he was looking forward to flying the aircraft at the historic site: “It’s fitting that XB-1 is now progressing toward first flight at the Mojave Air & Space Port, home to more than 50 first flights and other significant aviation events.” 

Upgraded landing gear and supersonic engine intakes have been installed on the aircraft since it was first unveiled in Colorado. 

News of the XB-1’s progress comes only a few months after the US company confirmed a number of key suppliers for the Overture aircraft, including Spanish manufacturers Aernnova and Aciturri who will work on the wing structure and empennage respectively.

Despite not yet constructing the aircraft, Boom Supersonic has already received backing from major players in the aviation industry with American Airlines, United, and Japan Airlines all placing pre-orders for the Overture aircraft.