| (photo by Marino Boric)
By James Wynbrandt and Marino Boric
August 2, 2013 - France-based LISA Airplanes, developer of the sleek and stylish Akoya amphibious LSA, is back at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh for the second year in a row, but has left its prototype aircraft home this time - a positive sign of the program's progress, Benoit Senellart, CEO, told AirVenture Today.
"We decided to go fast on the flight test and compliance program," he said, so the prototype aircraft is in France undergoing testing.
Named for a species of pearl, the all-composite Akoya airframe features a pair of hydrofoils that lift the aircraft out of the water, and to maximize utility, retractable landing gear that can be equipped with skis, so owners can "take off from ski slopes and land on water without problem," Senellart said. "That's the target, that's the aim of the aircraft."
Other design features include folding wings, a BRS recovery system, and glass panel cockpit. So far the prototype Akoya has accumulated 100 hours of flight testing, and the company has also conducted tow tank tests using scale models. Powered by a 100-hp Rotax 912 engine, the Akoya will burn about 3 gph in cruise, giving the aircraft a projected 1,250-mile range with a 124-knot cruise speed. The company will seek LSA certification in the U.S. and CS LSA certification in Europe concurrently, which it's targeting for "early 2015," Senellart said.
The company had been in receivership since July 2012, but this winter the company received funding from a Chinese investor, which Senellart said will enable LISA to "go to production" of the Akoya, as well as assist efforts to market the aircraft in China. "It doesn't change anything in management, we'll still be a French manufacturer," he said.
LISA plans to include flight training and ancillary support services with an all-inclusive fixed price of 300,000 euros, the equivalent of about $400,000 at today's exchange rate. Meanwhile, here at Oshkosh, company representatives are "very happy to meet people here, and see how interested they are in this new kind of technology."