Aircraft @ Southern California Logistics Airport

What is this aircraft? It was parked at transient parking at the Southern California Logistics Airport. It is a pusher prop driven plane with a conventional tail. High aspect ratio un-swept wings. Odd shaped fuselage. Any ideas?

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ When did you see it? $\endgroup$ – kevin Apr 12 '17 at 18:36
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    $\begingroup$ This was yesterday 4/12. $\endgroup$ – N. Brown Apr 12 '17 at 18:43
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    $\begingroup$ When you took the picture you should have hollered at those people by the wing to get info. $\endgroup$ – Michael Karas Apr 13 '17 at 3:28
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    $\begingroup$ It looks like something Burt Rutan built when he was twelve years old. $\endgroup$ – A. I. Breveleri Apr 13 '17 at 8:25
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    $\begingroup$ Could it just be a film prop and not a "real" airplane? I know that sometimes happens around Southern CA. $\endgroup$ – Adam Apr 15 '17 at 22:26

It appears to be a Celera 500L, owned by Otto Aviation Group.

Celera 500L N818WM

This article has more information: "Unmasking The Bullet-Shaped Mystery Aircraft After It Reemerges At Victorville"

The registration also provides us with a designation for this mystery planeā€”the Celera 500L. It is the only aircraft registered by the company with the FAA. The War Zone contacted the Otto Aviation Group by phone and they said they could not comment on the aircraft in any way.

This new high resolution image shows the rear of the airframe, which is the perfect companion photo to the lower resolution, front aspect image that we posted last April. We can now clearly see the five bladed, variable pitch, "pusher" propeller that will provide thrust. The airframe also features what appears to be all-moving vertical and horizontal stabilizers, and long, slender wings that are likely optimized for laminar flow.

The Bell X-1 like teardrop fuselage design, which includes a cockpit windscreen seamlessly blended into the fuselage, gives the aircraft a large internal volume and high aerodynamic efficiency. It's safe to say that efficiency is what this aircraft is primarily about. Even the prop size looks small in relation to the overall aircraft, which would point to the possibility that it makes very good use out of the thrust it has on hand.

  • $\begingroup$ Interesting that the article claims that they broke the story on it. Their "break" came from somebody Tweeting the pic & link in the OP! $\endgroup$ – FreeMan Jun 16 '17 at 12:31
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    $\begingroup$ Yeah, that was my tweet :) $\endgroup$ – John Wiseman Jun 16 '17 at 22:25
  • $\begingroup$ There is a Youtube video which says its a highly efficient aircraft with over 5MPG. That's highly efficient when compared to today's pistons or Turboprops. No additional details are available as it is currently in R&D/Testing phases. $\endgroup$ – user46196 Feb 27 '20 at 6:27

$\sf \color {SteelBlue} {\text {Known facts}}$

$\sf \color {SteelBlue} {\text {Aircraft apparent characteristics}}$

  • Pusher
  • Propeller behind tail, not ducted
  • High aspect ratio un-swept wings
  • Light wheels/gears
  • Low ground clearance
  • Maybe 2m diameter fuselage

$\sf \color {SteelBlue} {\text {Unknown so far}}$

  • Is it a mock-up? A film prop?
  • What part of the facility was the plane parked on? It might help us narrow the purpose down, e.g. is it an experimental government plane? a cargo test plane?
  • Were there any visible markings or logos (halfway down the middle there appears to be a logo, maybe Lockheed-Martin)
  • Single or twin?
  • mission type?

$\sf \color {SteelBlue} {\text {Intriguing}}$

  • Bullet symmetrical shape
  • Why no passengers windows?
  • Cockpit windows not bulging out of the nose/fuselage shape
  • Why a so large fuselage (and no windows)? Cargo?
  • What task the forklift has in the operation? Cargo loading?

$\sf \color {SteelBlue} {\text {Unlikely}}$

  • Aircraft in production (nobody in the community knows of an exact production aircraft)
  • unmanned (can be optionally piloted though)

$\sf \color {SteelBlue} {\text {Possibilities}}$

  • It's a test aircraft
  • It's not the final shape
  • The large vertical stabilizer/rudder is linked to the pusher configuration
  • Experimental since you don't see many production planes with no windows for the passengers and forklifts out on the ramp with them.
  • From what we can see: - fuselage shape - the propulsion arrangement - the high aspect ratio wing, could be a flying prototype to test Boundary Layer Ingestion. First they keep an open propeller to test the (unusual) configuration, and then once verified it is flyable, they will install the BLI equipment. I would expect something like that from NASA

  • it's likely a cargo aircraft for short range and small medium sized parcels, goods, etc. considering the location, it can be a test aircraft of one of the high tech companies (google, amazon, etc)

$\sf \color {SteelBlue} {\text {Similarities}}$

  • Rutan's design (when he was 12)
  • Piaggio P180 Avanti
  • Bell X1
  • Vanilla Aircraft VA001 (UAS)
  • There was a prototype similar to this in the 80's, which was not a Piaggio, but was similar, with a low ground clearance. It looked like the Avanti, but did not have the fake canard that the Avanti has for stability.
  • Airbus VoltAir
  • Airbus E-Fan (fuselage)
  • Cobalt Co50 Valkyrie (Single pusher engine configuration, first flight January 2015. Too small and dual vertical stabilizers.)
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I also rearched in drones images, without success, because to me looks like it's impossible for the pilot to properly see the runway in VRF landing $\endgroup$ – jean Apr 17 '17 at 12:41
  • $\begingroup$ The Avanti foreplane is not destabilising, as it has the necessary angle of incidence to maintain stability. This also ensures that it stalls before the main wing does, causing the nose to drop and a major stall to be averted. Nor is it fake - its purpose is to offload the tail, allowing both tail and main wing to be smaller. $\endgroup$ – Guy Inchbald Feb 25 '20 at 16:42

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