Otto Aviation’s Celera 500L Completes 31 Successful Flights

Odd-looking design could prove incredibly practical.

Celera 500L
The single-engine Celera 500L could create fuel economies in the 18 to 25 mpg range.Otto Aviation

Just because Otto Aviation’s elongated egg-shaped Celera 500L looks nothing like any airplane you’ve ever seen before is no reason to scoff. Otto Aviation, the brain child of an actual rocket scientist, William Otto, says the 500L could well become the most fuel-efficient commercially viable passenger airplane in the world. A recent company news release says a full-scale prototype has already somewhat stealthily completed 31 successful test flights, reportedly in the vicinity of Victorville, California.

The company reported that “the aircraft has a maximum cruise speed of 450 miles per hour, a range of over 4,500 miles, a large stand-up cabin and an astounding fuel economy of only 18 to 25 miles per gallon. The dramatic reduction in fuel consumption makes the Celera 500L the most environmentally friendly airplane in its class and presents a major leap forward in the effort to develop a zero-emission air transportation system.” The new 500L’s cabin is approximately 10 percent larger than that of a King Air 350 and includes six first-class-category seats and a lavatory.

Otto says the Celera 500L utilizes extensive laminar flow over the fuselage, wings, and tail surfaces to reduce drag and achieve superior aerodynamics, speed, and fuel efficiency. The flight test airplane is powered by a 500 hp Red A03 liquid-cooled V12, twin 6 cylinder bank capable of independent critical engine subsystems for each bank. The company says the engine will reduce carbon emissions by more than 80 percent compared to a similar business aircraft—and by 40 percent when compared to the latest commercial transport aircraft. The aircraft promises emission levels that are already lower than the FAA and ICAO target emissions standards for aircraft entering service in or after 2031 by over 30 percent.

A truly unique aspect of the Celera 500L is the aircraft’s 22:1 glide ratio, obviously quite useful should the single powerplant fail enroute. Similar to many glider aircraft, Otto Aviation says the 500L can glide up to 125 miles in still air with the engine shut down.

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