Lisa Airplanes is gearing up to restart flight testing of its Akoya amphibious light sport aircraft, three months after the French company emerged from receivership with the financial backing of private Chinese investors.
The Le Bourget du Lac, southeastern France-based company went into receivership a year ago after its former backers withdrew from the programme. "We are now back on track with the Akoya," says Lisa's marketing manager, Vanessa Troillard. "Our Chinese investors are committed not only on bringing this aircraft to market but also to the long-term future of the company."
The Akoya programme was launched in 2004 as a "revolutionary" light aircraft aimed at the private flyer and leisure markets. The aircraft had flown around 100h before testing ceased. "We are weeks away from restarting flight testing," Troillard says. "We will build two aircraft in total with the second expected to enter the programme early next year." Certification and service entry of the Rotax 912-powered aircraft is earmarked for 2015.
Lisa says despite the setback with the programme, the Akoya remains a "popular" aircraft. "We have letters of intent for 100 aircraft now," says Troillard. "We will be at the AirVenture show in Oshkosh [from 29 July to 4 August] to promote the aircraft to the US market," which should, she adds, account for a significant share of Akoya sales. "We are planing to sell the Akoya across the world, including New Zealand, Europe, Latin America and Asia-Pacific - notably China, where the GA market is opening up."
Lisa says, despite having Chinese investors, there are no plans to set up an assembly line for the Akoya in that country.
The €300,000 ($396,000) Akoya can operated from ground, water or snow. The aircraft is equipped with emergency parachute, hydrofoils, skis and a retractable landing gear. It has a range of 2,000km (1,080nm), a maximum speed of 135kts (250km/h) and consumes 5.6 litres of fuel per 100km.
Troillard says there are plans to build a bigger version of the Akoya "with four seats or maybe more".