French start-up manufacturer Lisa Airplanes is planning to build a family of turbine-powered seaplanes based on its two-seat Akoya ultralight, as demand for a larger stablemate continues to grow from its international customer base.
The new models will include a four-seat and six-seat version, says the privately owned start-up, which has secured around 50 orders to date for the Rotax 912-powered aircraft.
"There is definitely a market for bigger versions of the Akoya from existing and potential customers," says Lisa marketing manager Benoit Senellart. "We haven't decided which model to launch first. It is something we are very keen to do in the next five years, but our immediate plan is to bring the Akoya to market and that is what we are now concentrating our efforts on," Senellart adds.
He says the money made from the Akoya will be re-invested in new product development.
Le Bourget du Lac, south-east France-based Lisa recently secured funding of around €2 million ($2.95 million) from French private investment firm Viveris Management. "This money will enable us to bring Akoya to market," Senellart says.
The prototype has chalked up 50h of flight-testing to date and Lisa is preparing to build two pre-production aircraft, one of which is scheduled to appear at the European Business Aviation Association convention and exhibition in May 2010.
Akoya parts manufacture has been subcontracted, Senellart says "and we will undertake final assembly at our facility".
Approval and first deliveries are earmarked for the third quarter. Lisa plans to build up to 30 aircraft next year and up to 100 by 2013, boosted by the aircraft's growing popularity around the globe, notably in South Africa, India, Australia and the USA.