The Twitter presence of United Airlines aspires to establish the airline as your pal, with a “personality” that ranges from wry to whimsical. “Drop your perfect vacay using emojis only and we’ll guess the destination!” the account playfully instructs its followers in one tweet this week. Another – dispatched on Wednesday - confesses, “Our hearts went BOOM!” accompanied by a smiley face with hearts for eyes.
This latter tweet, of course, serves to herald the airline’s upcoming plans to deploy a fleet of Overture airliners – the new supersonic concepts being brought to reality by Denver’s Boom Supersonic. United joins Japan Airlines as the initial commercial customers for this new aircraft.
The vision of commercial supersonic travel was brought into reality in 1976 by the Concorde, an aircraft documented in dozens of books, but none more beautiful than this oversized publication by Frederic Beniada and Michel Fraile. It is seen with commemorative materials given to Concorde passengers. Photo: Frank Moriarty/Aerospace Perceptions
It’s been nearly two decades since the last flights of the Concorde, the incredibly graceful airliners that brought supersonic travel into reality from 1976 to 2003. And looking through the stunning photography in the beautiful book Concorde by Frederic Beniada and Michel Fraile, it’s little wonder that this aircraft had dedicated fans of its futuristic stance.
An Overture depicted in the thin air of its cruising altitude, 60,000 feet. Image: Boom Supersonic
Overture’s design hallmarks certainly call to mind its predecessor. The long, thin body following a needle nose ready to pierce the sound barrier, the wide sweeping wings with engines mounted below. But naturally, a closer look reveals significant differences, including a subtle gull-wing design to reduce noise and stress from the four engines.
All dressed up: Overture in the livery of United Airlines. United will purchase 15 aircraft from Boom Supersonic, with an option for 35 more. Image: Boom Supersonic
Of course, lighthearted tweets from corporate airlines do little to dim the glaring suspicion of many raising environmental concerns about the implementation of a new supersonic aircraft, particularly in the midst of a week that has seen scorching ambient temperatures baking vast stretches of the upper half of the planet. But United’s media materials are quick to note that Overture’s propulsion is vastly different from the 1960s technology that was the hallmark of Concorde. The airline’s announcement of its partnership with Boom Supersonic stressed: “Once operational, Overture is expected to be the first large commercial aircraft to be net-zero carbon from day one, optimized to run on 100% sustainable aviation fuel (SAF)… United and Boom will also work together to accelerate production of greater supplies of SAF.”
The first flights of an Overture aircraft are planned for 2026, with commercial air fleets taking to the skies within three years of the test program.
For more information: https://boomsupersonic.com/overture