Sometimes when the going gets tough, engineers and designers everywhere have to think outside of the box, or, in some cases, the cylinder. Enter the Celera 500l, aerial startup Otto Aviation’s hyper-efficient answer to the massive amounts of pollution generated by air travel.
The Celera provides 18-25 miles per gallon in fuel efficiency, about 9 times higher than that of similarly sized jet planes. It is also significantly cheaper to operate, with maintenance costs of only $328 per hour instead of the $2,100 per hour guzzled by commercial jets of the same size.
The secret behind all this innovation: the fact that the Celera is essentially a flying whale. The remarkably rotund aircraft has also been compared to a bullet, but our team cannot see it as anything other than a whale. Despite the much lamented inability of whales to fly, this craft’s design allows it to take advantage of a phenomenon called laminar airflow.
The curves of the fuselage prevent the layers of air created by high velocity flight from intermixing, minimizing turbulence and smoothing a pocket in the atmosphere for the plane to fly through.
The Celera also promises a hyperloop style revolution in transit. The higher efficiency gives it a flight range of more than 4,500 nautical miles, almost enough to fly across the US from coast to coast. That efficiency also makes it cheap. Otto Aviation promises to offer average families the opportunity to charter the Celera for the same price as a normal airplane ticket.
The concept of a cheap air taxi is not anything new, Uber and Lyft have been pursuing a similar vision for years, but Otto’s staggering leaps forward actually make it achievable. The Celera beats FAA efficiency for the year 2031 by nearly 30%. Not only is it advanced, it is more than 10 years ahead of current standards.
Nevertheless, no new technology is perfect. Even the most efficient aircraft is still far more wasteful than other forms of mass transit like buses and trains. As amazing as the Celera 500l is it does not begin to approach more eco-friendly strategies. Nevertheless, it is still a remarkable achievement of human innovation.