Lisa Airplanes has set its sights on 2016 service entry for its Akoya amphibious light sport aircraft – the first of a family of light amphibious aircraft the French start-up plans to bring to market over the next few years.

To date Lisa has notched up more than 100 flying hours on the first of two Akoya test aircraft at its base in Le Bourget-du-Lac, southeast France.

The company has also secured around 100 deposits for the two-seat type to date.

Nearly three-quarters of the sales have been placed by US-based customers. “We are pursuing US [American Society for Testing and Materials] and European certification at the same time, which we hope to have in the second quarter of 2016,” says Lisa’s marketing manager Vanessa Troillard.

Lisa says the Akoya will eventually be sold worldwide, with India, New Zealand, Latin America and the Asia-Pacific being key markets.

The Akoya programme was originally slated for certification in 2015, but when funding dried up in 2012 – as a result of the financial meltdown – privately-owned Lisa was forced into receivership.

Less than a year later the company was acquired by private Chinese investors, which Troillard says are fully committed to the programme and to Lisa’s long-term future.

“We are looking at other, larger versions of the Akoya – from a four- to 10 seater,” Troillard says. “We won’t make a decision on the next model until we have fully studied the market [to identify where the niches exist].”

Lisa says that despite having Chinese investors, there are no plans to set up an assembly line for the Akoya family in that country. “The ‘made in France’ label is more appealing to potential buyers,” Troillard adds.

The €300,000 ($379,000) Akoya can operate from ground, water or snow. The aircraft is equipped with an emergency parachute, hydrofoils, skis and retractable landing-gear. It has a projected range of 1,080nm (2,000km), a maximum speed of 135kt (250km/h) and consumes 5.6 litres (1.5USgal) of fuel per 100km.

Source: Flight International