EBACE Convention News

Akoya is smallest luxury toy here

 - May 23, 2007, 6:21 AM

The ultra-light Akoya, an original amphibian twin-seater, is to make its first flight by this summer. The Akoya can takeoff from land, water or even snow thanks to innovative features, Lisa Airplanes CEO Erick Herzberger explained to EBACE Convention News. Simultaneously, the Chambery, France-based company is working on a fuel-cell powered aircraft, the Hy-Bird.

The Akoya’s first flight was pegged for early this year but further development has postponed this to “the coming weeks.” The unique aircraft’s main feature is its ability to use three different surfaces for takeoffs and landings. It can liftoff from water thanks to having hydrofoils rather than a conventional fuselage hull. The two hydrofoils lift the fuselage out of the water, starting from approximately eight knots. “They add some drag in flight but this penalty is much smaller than that of a conventional seaplane fuselage,” Herzberger said.

A conventional three-wheel, retractable landing gear can be used on runways. In flight, the pilot can choose to fit skis on to the wheels. An automated process, it enables the Akoya to land on snow.

Although ultra-light regulations do not call for full certification, Herzberger claimed that the Akoya has been designed to JAR 23 rules. Deliveries should start in April next year. The list price for a complete Akoya is $405,000.

Paradoxically, the Akoya claims to be a “luxury toy,” even while most exhibitors here belong to an industry that has striven to shed that image. The Akoya can be seen at Booth No. 446. The airframe displayed is aircraft number two, without its 100-hp Rotax 912S engine.

Lisa Airplanes’ second project is the Hy-Bird. An electrically powered design, it will draw energy from both solar cells and a fuel cell, project manager Gwendoline Legrand said. Solar cells will be used for navigation instruments. The fuel cell will be used for the motor. It will provide electricity from liquid hydrogen.

Before launching production, Lisa Airplanes is planning on flying the Hy-Bird around the world next year. This should be broken down into 15 legs of 1,600 nm each. The anticipated average cruise speed is 80 knots.

The Akoya by the numbers

Max cruise speed: 168 kt
Range: 800 nm
mtow: 1,090 lb