Updated: Aug 18
It Turns Out; It Is Extremely Efficient!
The bulbous-looking Celera 500L aircraft above is the creation of William Otto and his company Otto Aviation. The following statement from Otto Aviation sums up William Otto’s Celera design:
One thing can be said about William Otto, — he approaches seemingly impossible problems with unconventional solutions.
What grabbed me about this particular aircraft wasn’t as much about the design but rather the similarity to another form of transportation I wrote about, the Airlander.
Now I fully understand the differences between a Hybrid Air Vehicle/Blimp and a plane are many, but the similarity with the shape can’t be denied. Otto Laboratories, Inc accumulated tremendous knowledge over many years working as an accident reconstruction firm. This, coupled with the immense amount of travel William and his team traveled, gave them insight into the shortcomings of commercial travel. Digging further into William’s past, he is a torpedoes weapon specialist. It is not a far cry to say this tremendously influenced his Celera design (pictured).
This “Flying Torpedo,” not unlike the Airlander (“The Flying Bum”), dramatically reduces the amount of drag (laminar flow) as the aircraft travels forward. So much so that the efficiencies translate to staggering rewards passed on to the private traveler.
A comparable Jet Aircraft has a fuel economy of a lowly 2–3 mpg. The Celera comes in at 18 to 25mpg.
The operating cost of a comparable Jet Aircraft is $2100/hour. The Celera can be operated at $328.
It is essential to note this is all being done with a 550-horsepower combustion engine. It just does it much more efficiently. Imagine what a hydrogen fuel cell version could achieve if this can all be achieved with a fossil fuel-burning motor. In collaboration with ZeroAvia, Otto Aviation has announced bringing this technology to the Celera. Their goal to reduce emissions would be easily achieved in a much shorter period.
Now for the details:
Expect a 4500 nautical mile range with the possibility of reaching a speed over 460mph with the fossil fuel burning version. The range would be reduced to 1000 nautical miles with the hydrogen fuel cell version. With a payload of 6 passengers, they aim to ensure each passenger has a first-class seat. Added Note: Otto envisions being able to scale up to transport up to 19 passengers.
The hydrogen battery option would make the world’s most efficient passenger plane greener. I look forward to seeing a few of these “flying torpedoes” in the years ahead!