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Mon January 30, 2023 - Southeast Edition #4
The ground proved too wet for Boom Supersonic Inc., so North Carolina state and local elected officials on Jan. 26 chose to conduct an indoor groundbreaking at Greensboro's Piedmont Triad International (PTI) Airport.
The manufacturing company, intent on building the world's fastest airliner, kicked off construction of its ultramodern Overture Superfactory in Greensboro on 62 acres at the regional airport. The site will house the final assembly line, as well as test facility and customer delivery center, for Boom's flagship Overture supersonic passenger plane.
"This milestone is a shared one and we are deeply appreciative of the input, leadership, and support of the Piedmont Triad Airport Authority, local community and the state of North Carolina," Boom President Kathy Savitt said.
She also provided several limited updates on the Denver manufacturer's production plans for the planned $500 million facility that will assemble and test the Overture airliner.
The Winston-Salem Journal reported Boom's current goal is to turn out up to 33 Overture airplanes per year with its first full production line, and a similar manufacturing target with a planned second line.
Savitt said construction work will begin in early February on the 400,000-sq.-ft. facility, to be performed by BE&K Building Group, from Greenville, S.C.
"There is some more final site preparation work that will be done," she said.
Savitt reaffirmed the timeline of beginning equipment installation in 2024 with Texas-based Advanced Integration Technology, followed by assembly in 2025, first rollout in 2026, first test flight in 2027, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certification in 2029, and the first passenger flight later that same year.
The Journal reported that Boom continues to complete critical program milestones including the unveiling of Symphony, the new propulsion system designed and optimized for Overture, which also took place in Greensboro in December.
Boom said Symphony remains in the "conceptual design phase for Symphony, working closely with Florida Turbine Technologies [FTT]," Savitt noted.
Headquartered in Jupiter, Fla., FTT has supersonic engine-design expertise, and employs key engineers who were among the teams responsible for the design of the supersonic engines that power America's F-22 and F-35 fighter jets.
North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper encouraged Boom officials again to consider placing the Symphony production plant in either the Piedmont Triad or elsewhere in the Tarheel State, according to the Winston-Salem news source, for the sake of exceeding jobs projections and to create a tight-knit manufacturing network.
"We're open to making them right here for you," he said.
Savitt noted that Boom expects to have about 400 employees within two years.
"That number will continue to scale as we begin manufacturing," she added. "We are fully on track to employ about 1,750 by 2030, and more than 2,400 people at full production in 2032."
In addition to Boom's job creation in the state, the company is creating more than 200 internships for students in North Carolina public universities, community colleges and trade schools to build the next generation of supersonic workers.
Company officials explained that North Carolina was chosen as the site for the Overture aircraft manufacturing plant because of the state's large skilled talent pool, access to exceptional post-high school educational institutions, its adjacency to the Eastern Seaboard for supersonic flight testing over water, and proximity to several top-tier aerospace suppliers.
In addition, Boom took into account the state's aerospace manufacturing sector has grown three times faster than the national average over the past few years.
"Specifically, we're going to be looking for manufacturing engineers, technicians, mechanical and industrial engineers, operations and facilities management, and supportive administrative staff," Savitt said, adding that employee training will be complete when the Overture plant begins installing and tooling equipment in 2024.
North Carolina economists estimate that the full Boom manufacturing program will grow the state's economy by at least $32.3 billion over 20 years.
Savitt acknowledged the ample skepticism shadowing the Denver, Colo. manufacturer's plans for its Overture supersonic jet and what Boom officials have called an "audacious" rollout goal, the Journal reported.
"We understand what we are doing is audacious, but we're working with some world-class teams and aviation companies, and blessed with incredible suppliers and supporters," she said.
Cooper said his confidence continues to grow in not only Boom meeting its goals, but how it will fit within the Triad's and state's advanced manufacturing and clean-energy priorities.
"Building on our legacy of ‘First in Flight,' North Carolina is ready to partner with Boom Supersonic in leading the way to a fast and clean aviation future," he explained. "Our economy is taking flight with a talented workforce and strong infrastructure ready for these new, good-paying jobs in innovation and aerospace."
Cooper said the focus on "clean energy and aeronautics" is making the state "the place that people are looking to for clean-energy companies," such as Toyota's electric vehicle battery plant south of Greensboro, the VinFast electric vehicle manufacturing plant in Chatham County, and the Pratt & Whitney turbine airfoil production plant in Asheville.
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