Of Speculative Ventures and Grandiose Overtures

In a move that speaks to the increasing popularity of legalized gambling, American Airlines—the world’s largest passenger air-carrier—has entered an agreement to purchase up to twenty of Boom Technology’s Overture supersonic airliners. The deal, which contains options for an additional forty aircraft, follows United Airlines’ 2021 commitment to purchase 15 Overtures of its own.

American shelled-out an undisclosed, non-refundable deposit on the initial twenty airplanes, which—under the terms of the agreement—must meet industry-standard operating, performance, and safety requirements as well as American’s additional customary conditions prior to delivery.

Boom’s Overture is a proposed supersonic aircraft with an advertised maximum speed of Mach 1.7 and a range of 4,250-nautical miles. The 170,000-pound machine is to be powered by a quartet of moderate-bypass, non-afterburning engines which Rolls Royce has yet to design, test, build, and have certified. The only extant engines capable of actualizing Boom’s performance figures are slung under and alongside modern jet-fighters. Such mills, however, lack the fuel-economy and reliability upon which viable commercial aviation operations are largely predicated. Nevertheless, Boom intends to run its non-existent engines on one-hundred-percent sustainable aviation fuel.

According to Boom, an Overture flight would move 65 to 80 passengers from Miami to London in just under five-hours; a trip from Los Angeles to Honolulu would take a scant three hours. Notwithstanding dearths of numerous key-technologies, Boom expects the Overture will carry its first paying passengers by 2029.

Boom’s books presently contain orders and options for no fewer than 130 Overture aircraft from air-carriers such as American, United, and JAL. In addition to its civilian undertakings, Boom is working with Northrop Grumman to rouse the Pentagon’s interest in Overture.

Suppliers and partners collaborating with Boom on its high-speed, higher-stakes wager include Collins Aerospace, Eaton, Safran Landing Systems, Rolls-Royce, the United States Air Force, American Express, Climeworks (a Swiss company specializing in carbon-dioxide air-capture via filtration of CO2 directly from ambient air), and Amazon Web Services.

Whether or not Overture emerges from the drawing board remains to be seen. What can be stated with certainty, however, is that fortune favors and abhors the brave in equal measure, and that the borderlands separating the improbable from the impossible are vast and unknowable.

FMI: www.boomsupersonic.com