The Celera 500, which is the answer to the question, what do you get when you cross a sumo wrestler and a Piaggio Aero P.180, has taken to the skies. We know a little about it, though the developer, Otto Aviation, has kept the whole affair under tight wraps.
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The plane has been spotted at Victorville, California’s Southern California Logistics Airport on several occasions over the past year, and it recently was seen flying, according to several online sources, including The Drive.
The plane is odd-looking, featuring a V-12 pusher engine and a whisper-thin wing mated to a svelte blimp shaped fuselage. It’s an extraordinary-looking plane, but the claims flying around it are more so. They include a ceiling of 65,000 feet with a top cruise speed of around 500 mph with a total fuel flow of between 30 and 40 gallons per hour. With piston engines! Will one need a pressure suit to fly as a passenger, we wonder.
There are some very fast propeller-driven planes, including the Piaggio, which uses a pair of 850-shp Pratt & Whitney turboprop engines to send it speeding along at around 400 knots and with a ceiling of 41,000 feet, the stuff of light jets, to be sure.
We’ll update you on this program when there’s more news to report.