Need to get to London, and fast? After a more than two-decade hiatus of supersonic flight, passengers will soon have the option of ultrafast, sustainable fuel-powered air travel thanks to Boom Supersonic. Since 2014, the company has been working to redefine air travel, creating an experience that is fast, safe, and net zero carbon in its operation. The company is rethinking everything from the plane itself to the passenger experience inside the aircraft to the company’s business model, and even the kind of fuel it will use. Boom plans to have passengers on board Overture by 2029. To get there, the manufacturer needs to not only build out the new aircraft, but also to create an all-new passenger experience. IDEO partnered with Boom to define and prototype what supersonic travel might look and feel like, influencing decisions about Overture’s interior design and bringing the experience to life for future customers at a major industry trade show.
20 OVERTURE DEPOSITS
MADE BY AMERICAN AIRLINES, JOINING CURRENT CUSTOMERS UNITED AIRLINES AND JAPAN AIRLINES
In July 2022, Boom and IDEO offered a sneak peak of the Overture experience.
Bringing the Overture experience to life at the Farnborough International Airshow required creating particle simulations, chalet renders, interactive windows, technology specs for a curved led wall, and much more.
Boom plans for Overture to get from New York to Frankfurt in just over four hours instead of the eight hours spent on a commercial jet today.
The Overture supersonic jet has a cruising speed of Mach 1.7, about twice as fast as today’s commercial planes.
Overture is built to fly on 100 percent sustainableaviation fuels (SAF).
It’s not easy to shift the paradigm for an entire industry. But when a company comes along that promises to reinvent air travel, it opens up a blue sky of opportunities. That’s the flight path for Boom Supersonic, which is thinking big about how passengers arrive at their destination not only faster, but also with a greater sense of wellbeing.
To really comprehend the experience of flying in the unique contoured profile of this ultrafast jet, and to help Boom make key decisions about the design of the plane, the IDEO team believed that you had to go beyond algorithms and schematics—you needed to actually board it.
Using a “build-first” approach, the team quickly constructed a full-scale mockup of the fuselage from plywood and foam core. That became a prototyping platform to test multiple seating configurations, galley and lavatory size and placement, luggage storage solutions, and other concepts that would differentiate and add value to the passenger experience. For the first time, the Boom team was able to set foot in its own aircraft and truly understand the experience from the perspective of its clientele. The exercise allowed the Boom team to confidently make decisions by comparing multiple cabin configurations and options in full-scale.
Throughout the project, Boom and IDEO invited future travelers aboard to interact with the prototype and offer feedback. That input culminated in a more refined model, with augmented windows, moonroof, in-flight entertainment screens, and sound design—all further augmented by a Virtual Reality component to allow our future travelers to fully immerse in this new experience.
Together, Boom and IDEO brought a sneak peak to the Farnborough International Airshow, a biannual exhibition for the aerospace, aviation, and defense industries. The event was an opportunity to give the industry and potential customers a preview of Boom’s innovative new jet. In collaboration with the client, an exhibition architect, and a digital production agency, the team created an immersive environment designed to make the Overture experience feel tangible, eliciting the wonder of this revolutionary plane.
Boom’s presence at Farnborough not only underscored the Overture’s progress but provided an inspiring glimpse into the future of air travel. During the air show the company announced the production Overture design, a market-expanding alliance with Northrop Grumman, and agreements with tier one suppliers Collins Aerospace, Safran, and Eaton. Not long after, Boom received its largest order to date, this one from American Airlines.
The prospect of getting to London in time for dinner just got a little closer.
Boom's jet design includes a moon roof porthole to make the compact cabin feel more spacious.
“Today we set foot on Overture for the first time, walking through mock layouts and passenger experience concepts with our inspired design partners, IDEO. There are some amazing things on this airplane. It won't be like anything ever flown.”