more than two years after The War Zone was first to report on a mysterious bullet-shaped aircraft appearing at the Southern California Logistics Airport near Victorville, a refined version of the plane has conducted taxi tests and looks to be getting close to its first flight. Even though much about its design and purpose remain unclear, we do know now that the aircraft, which is called the Otto Aviation Celera 500L, is definitely focused on potentially game-changing high-efficiency flight that has the potential to disrupt the aerospace marketplace.
In January 2019, new pictures of the pusher-propeller Celera 500L, which carries the U.S. civil registration code N818WM, emerged showing it in a markedly more mature state than what we had seen in the past. The plane now has winglets at the tips of both wings, but it’s not clear if the wings themselves are entirely new. The aircraft also had a black propeller in place of the earlier white one and an aerodynamic spinner over the propeller hub. There’s also a much better view of the trapeze-like landing gear assemblies, which are of the general style found in patent documents that Otto Aviation has submitted relating to a number of the aircraft’s features.
In addition, as compared to earlier images, the aircraft finally has conformal cowlings fitted in place over its rear-mounted engine compartment. Each one features a single large air intake and an exhaust port.
For comparison, below you can see a picture of the Celera 500L as it existed in June 2017.
In May of 2019, NASA pilot and photographer Scott Howe also spotted the Celera 500L doing high-speed taxi tests at the Southern California Logistics Airport as he flew by. This further supports the assessment that the aircraft is getting closer to a first flight.