Mystery Plane In Taxi Tests


An unusual teardrop-shaped aircraft with a pusher prop has been undergoing taxi tests at California Logistics Airport near Victorville, California, leading to speculation the Celera 500L is ready for its first flight. The plane has been under secret development for about a decade and is said to be an “extremely low drag” design that will fly at 60,000 feet, possibly using one or two diesel engines for power. It is being developed by the Otto Aviation Group, owned by former North American-Rockwell applied physicist William Otto, who was chief scientist for the B-1’s avionics system.

The most recent appearance by the aircraft included several high-speed taxi tests and the aircraft has grown winglets and a new prop since it was last spotted in December. The plane appears to be all composite and the bulbous design would lend itself to any number of configurations. The FAA registration says the aircraft has a Rakhlin Red A03 engine, a V-12 four stroke diesel that puts out 500 horsepower.

Russ Niles
Russ Niles is Editor-in-Chief of AVweb. He has been a pilot for 30 years and joined AVweb 22 years ago. He and his wife Marni live in southern British Columbia where they also operate a small winery.

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  1. Pretty cool looking airplane reminiscent of the Lear Fan. The power-plant is interesting and appears to be well thought out, tested, and approved by the EASA plus flown for a while in the Yak-52/152. It looks alike a plausible combination. William Otto and his company has the chops to make this combo work. I will be interesting to see what actual performance turns out to be with a 500HP, twin turbo, twelve cylinder kerosene burner. Nice to see a real airplane vs the proof-of-concept artist renderings we are accustom to seeing.

    • Ditto. At least we can touch this thing and flowery phrases aren’t being used to describe it (yet). Who knows … it might even fly? I hope those winglets aren’t the ones with the AD against ’em, though.

      But I think it’s been around for decades? Didn’t Dr. Zarkov design this and force Buster Crabbe and Dale Arden to fly this thing to the planet Mongo to fight Emporer Ming the Merciless in the Flash Gordon series back in 1936 ? Dr Otto musta figured out that diesels were more efficient with lower green house gases and life cycle costs than the sparkler rocket in the original? (I HAD to say that!). 🙂