March 24, 2023

Blake Scholl has been an airplane fan since he was a child, when his parents took him to watch the turboprop Cessna take off near his home in Cincinnati, Ohio.

“I have a Fisher-Price toy airplane, and my parents said I held it up and knew it was like those in the sky,” he said during a video chat from his car in Denver, Colorado. “After that, I’ve been sketching planes and thinking about how to build them.”

While he was still fascinated, he never seriously considered a career in aviation, instead working as a software engineer. But now, Scholl, 41, is the founder and CEO of what may be one of the most exciting new airlines.

Boom Supersonic, founded by Scholl in 2014, has pledged to launch a “child of Concorde” supersonic commercial passenger flight as early as 2026, roughly 23 years after Concorde’s retirement.

Scholl said he never had the opportunity to fly a Concorde, one of his motivations for reviving supersonic air travel. “I’ve been waiting and no one has done it, so finally I decided to do it,” he said. “My kids have a grandfather who lives in Hong Kong and it’s an 18-hour flight from here. It’s too much for them as a child and for his old age. If there was supersonic flight, they would see their grandfather more often .”

He founded Boom in 2014 after selling the e-commerce company he founded.But first, he laid out what he could do next: “I realized I wanted to do the most important thing [for society] It’s not impossible. Shore evaluates the ideas in terms of how happy he would be if they were successful. “The top is supersonic flight.” Time to figure out why everyone thinks this is a bad idea. “

After two weeks of intensive research, he concluded that it was possible and set out to hire aeronautical engineers to help bring his vision to life. The first six or seven people he hired were paid for with the money he made from selling the app platform Kima Labs to Groupon. “Before I realized I was playing chicken with my bank account, I had put about half of my life savings into this business and we launched a round of financing.”

Investors, many of whom had backed his previous venture, poured nearly $1 million into the start-up, which is still operating in the basement of the Scholl home. “them [the previous investors] Say, we think you may be crazy, but we’ll always have your back. ”

Other investors, he said, were motivated by their own desire to see a successor to Concorde. “They say you might be crazy, but we really want it to work.”

So far, it appears he has been proven right. The company currently has about 250 employees, A prototype called XB-1 was built, Scholl calls it “the world’s only operational non-military supersonic jet.”

Boom in flight Supersonic Overture
Boom Supersonic Overture: American Airlines may order 60 planes. Photo: Associated Press

Boom to break ground on a production facility later this year A commercial version called Overture. The jets can reach speeds over water of up to Mach 1.7, twice the speed of today’s fastest commercial aircraft but less than the Concorde’s top speed of Mach 2.04, and are expected to roll off the assembly line in 2025 and roll out in 2029 Carry the first passengers. The plant is located in Greensboro, North Carolina, where the Wright brothers made their first flight in 1903.

Earlier this month, American Airlines became the third airline to order Boom jets. United Airlines ordered 15 last year, and Virgin Atlantic struck a deal in 2016. American Airlines agreed to buy up to 20 planes, with an option to buy 40 more.

Overture will carry fewer passengers than a sonic jet, with 65 seats​​, initially priced at business-class prices. Concorde has a capacity between 90 and 128 passengers.

The aircraft is designed to have a range of 4,250 nautical miles and can fly about 600 routes around the world, Scholl said. It estimated it would take three and a half hours to fly from London to New York, and now it takes six and a half hours.

He thinks Boom can succeed where Concorde failed because his jet will be lighter and therefore more efficient. Ultimately, airfares will be about the same as standard airfares today, he said.

“Concorde was a technological marvel of the 1960s,” he said. “But they’re not concerned about the economy, and it’s too expensive to fly.” Previously, a round-trip London-New York flight cost about $12,000 Air France flight 4590 Crashed in 2000, Concorde was retired in 2003. “Fast forward a few decades, and now that all technologies are significantly more efficient, we can reduce costs.”

Scholl claims that while supersonic flight requires a lot of fuel, Boom aims to achieve net-zero carbon dioxide emissions by 2025 and net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2040. The planes will fly on “up to 100 percent sustainable” aviation fuel.

Attracting talented engineers was easier than he thought, he said, even as he interviewed potential newcomers in his basement. “There are very few people in aerospace that aren’t excited about rockets going to Mars or supersonic flight — and Boom was the only one doing it at the time,” he said. “We can convince people to give up good careers


family “I’m an only child, but now I’m a father of four.”

educate “I attended Carnegie Mellon University from 1998 to 2001 and graduated with honors in Computer Science.”

pay “If salary is the only reason you work, you’re in the wrong job.”

last vacation “I took my kids across the western United States this summer in my own plane. I’m a trained pilot, so it’s great to be able to share my passion for flying with my kids. “

Best advice he got “The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who can really change the world.”

his overused word subsonic. “That’s what I call anything too slow.”

how does he relax “By spending time with family, or in-flight entertainment.”

Join us as two of the top 10 people we hired closed the successful businesses they started. “

Scholl’s success was a relief to his parents, who were worried when he dropped out of high school as a teenager. “My parents really cared about education and sent me to the best public high school in the state,” he said. “But I never felt like I fit in.”

However, he did fit in well with the science camp his parents sent him to. One year, he spent six weeks in a theoretical computer science camp. “It was exciting and fun right now, and the people around me cared about the things I cared about,” he recalls. “I learn from passionate people. I find my place.”

With renewed passion, Blake, a high school dropout, turned college student Blake after he found a program at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh that gave people who didn’t finish high school a chance to apply.

“You apply in your junior year and then write an essay about why you didn’t finish high school,” he said. He wrote that there was nothing left to teach him in high school. He was awarded an Andrew Carnegie Scholarship and received a BA in Computer Science.

Scholl knew he wanted to be an entrepreneur and set out to work for arguably the most successful entrepreneur in the world, Jeff Bezos. “I contacted the recruiter [for Amazon] And say I’m astounded by what you’re doing with personalized retailing, and I want to work for you. It worked: In 2001, at the age of 21, Scholl was hired as a software engineer. A few months later, he started working on a project under the direct supervision of Bezos. “I had to update him and his leadership team every three months. ,” he said. “It was a challenge, but boy was it inspiring. “

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