In late August 2020, Otto Aviation introduced its Celera 500L as “the most fuel-efficient commercially viable passenger aircraft in the world.”
Aren’t press releases great?
And yet, what made this announcement unique, in my opinion, was the fact this full-scale prototype has already completed 31 test flights.
Why is that special? Too often we read about what a company plans to do, not what it has done. That checks a big box for me.
Many times over the past few years I’ve wondered what the Wright brothers would’ve designed as the original Wright Flyer if they’d possessed the knowledge and technology we have today.
Would it look like the Celera 500L? Perhaps.
But one thing is certain, the critics would be just as ravenous.
Case in point, the often commenting gbigs states on our original story, “Another chase for the $20m business jet market. Not much use to non billionaires.”
And yet, when I read through Otto Aviation’s brochureware website, I see the target for this aircraft is clearly commercial (charter) aviation. I believe it to be the shorter distance variety. That is not the “business jet market.”
Cary Alburn comments “Should be renamed the Hyperbole.”
“And, the takeoff roll is only 300 feet,” adds Jim Mindy.
Will asks a more operational question: “How do you see out of the front of this airplane? Seems like there is limited forward and downward vision.”
Over at AVweb the cynicism piles on quickly.
“Laminar, shlaminar: The Celera 500L is essentially a Zeppelin with wings,” claims Dennis R. “The design predates the Wright brothers by three decades, and was patented prior to 1900. Nothing wrong with that, but let’s not get carried away either. There’s nothing novel or revolutionary about reinventing the blimp. Let’s just hope it doesn’t meet the same fate as the Hindenburg in 1937.”
One of the stronger negative comments came from John Schubert. He posted to both AVweb (as John S.) and Boldmethod. “I thought about this a few days, and came back ticked off. This ‘airplane’ is vaporware. Let us not pretend otherwise. Why would they go to the trouble of making the vaporware? Because there are many naive investors with many millions. Family money, oil money, etc. I have seen money plundered from naive investors in my own work experience. A ‘news article’ helps them dupe prospective investors.” The comment continues for some length.
And yet, not all comments are hateful and negative.
Len B. at AVweb says, “Personally, I think the world is still flat. No sense in trying to say the world is round. Wake up naysayers — we got where we are with daydreamers pushing the envelope.”
OK, he used sarcasm, but still as positive a comment as I’ve read.
Jim K exclaims, “Well done! More clean sheet airplane designs with numbers like this or that aspire to numbers like this are what we all need.”
And Ken S. states, “Wow! Can’t believe all the negativity! Personally I think it’s encouraging there are aviation entrepreneurs out there willing to do what aviation pioneers have done since the beginning … hanging it out there, pushing the edge of the envelope.”
Back at General Aviation News, Tony puts on his chamber of commerce hat and says, “Awesome aircraft. Bring it to Albuquerque, we’ll build it. 300 days of sunshine and dry.”
I’ve never been objective when it comes to aviation. I’m a full throated proponent. I suppose those who are critical of the Celera 500L believe their thoughts are realistic. Perhaps.
But I’ll stick with cheering on the likes of Otto Aviation and its Celera 500L. While I’m certain they’ll have a few setbacks, as long as they move forward, that’s a victory. And I hope they do.