LISA Airplanes, a Le Bourget- du-Lac-based aviation firm, has flown the final prototype for the Akoya, a 7m (29.9 ft) amphibious light sports aircraft (LSA) outfitted for land, sea, snow, and… drumroll, please… a superyacht.
In an industry where the word “innovative” gets bandied about ad nauseam, the Akoya genuinely emerges as an original aircraft. One whose approach to design distinctively encapsulates the ethos of free, unencumbered flight.
For the personal aviation and seaplane set, Akoya, built entirely in carbon fibre, ticks all the boxes. It has the singular distinction of being the only aeroplane in the world with hydrofoils, what the company has patented as “Seafoils”: two underwater “fins” that allow the Akoya to lift its fuselage out of the water faster while ensuring greater stability during take-off and landing on aquatic surfaces.
Skis and detachable mooring hooks are critical components of the landing gear, as well. They fit inside the fuselage during flight, provide smooth transitions from snow to dry surfaces without a change of gear, and can be removed during the summer.
All wheels are fitted with hydraulic brakes; the fin and rudder together form a swept, short and parallel chord surface that carries the tailplane and T-tail configuration and engine at the top; in flight, Akoya’s fuselage has a curved undercarriage, and a large one-piece electric canopy over the dual side-by-side control cabin; and the undercarriage of the taildragger is also electronically retractable as well.
“We are looking at a take-off performance of around 200m (656 ft.), as we want the Akoya to be able to land on as many lakes, or other water-based landing sites as possible,” says Benoit Sellenart, GM of LISA Airplanes. Keep in mind that Akoya has a range of 1,250km (675 nautical miles), climbs 5.2m/s (1,020 ft/min), and has a maximum speed of 250 km/h (135 knots).
So, whether it’s off to a hush-hush in Ibiza, Black Tie in Malta—for which you’ll be fashionably late—or to fetch Périgord truffles (because family is visiting), LISA’s eclectic approach to design, style, versatility, and privacy, converge in the Akoya’s contemporary, luxurious take on the seaplane.
And yet, what makes the cutting-edge single-engine aircraft so alluring is that, according to LISA, “it adapts to restricted spaces … The aircraft’s wings can be folded in an instant, enabling it to be stored in a garage, a hangar,” or as a superyacht tender for that matter.
Akoya boasts an 11m (36 ft) wingspan, is 6.90m in length (22 ft 8 in), seats 2, is 2.35m (7 ft 9 in) in height, and has a fuel capacity of 70 l (18 US gal).
LISA Airplanes introduced the first prototype for what would eventually become the Akoya at Chambéry in 2007. By 2012 the company sought approval for a light sports aircraft in the United States and had flown its first passenger at AirVenture. After being placed in receivership, controlling interest in the company was purchased in 2013 by the Chinese firm, Heima Mining Company, for $20 million.
New designs were finalized, but it wasn’t until 2017, however, that a second prototype, Pre-Series 1, included new retractable landing gear and revised horizontal fuselage fins. LISA is looking to bring Akoya to the market soon. And we. Can. Not. Wait!