French aircraft designers are targeting rich Scots with a revolutionary fold-away seaplane they think could transform first class travel.
Lisa Airplanes, based in Le Bourget-du-Lac, southeast France, believe Scotland’s large number of lochs and islands makes it an ideal playground for their new two-seater amphibious Light Sport Aircraft.
Despite being just under half a million pounds each (€480,000) the makers of the Akoya plane say they have had a lot of interest from wealthy flyers looking for the ultimate in personal transport.
Scotland has 6,200 miles of coastline, 790 major islands and 562 large, freshwater lochs. It is also the only part of the UK to have a successful commercial seaplane service, Loch Lomond Seaplanes.
“We obviously can’t reveal any personal details about our potential buyers in Scotland but it’s clear our prospects there can foresee how they might take advantage of the Akoya’s versatility within Scotland, with all its lochs, islands and beautiful inland landscapes,” said Vanessa Troillard, Marketing Manager of Lisa Airplanes.
“The Akoya has the ability to land on water, snow or land without the need to make any changes on the airplane and it has very good performance.
“It’s easy for some of our buyers to imagine nice trips to Scandinavia while others, who are keener on warmer destinations, have already planned to fly from Edinburgh or Aberdeen to the French Riviera.”
The Akoya has a range of almost 1,000 miles, is as fast as a sports car with a maximum speed of over 124 mph, has all the economy of a small city runaround at around 62 mpg and can takeoff or land in less than 660ft (200m).
It also comes with lots of unique features, including foldaway wings so it can be parked on an ordinary household driveway or towed behind a car. The plane which has plenty of room for two cabin suitcases along with golf clubs, skis, fishing rods, or diving equipment has been built with safety in mind. It can set down on water, land or snow. It can glide for miles if the engine fails and even has its own built in parachute capable of lowering the whole aircraft and its occupants gently to the ground.
“We really think Scotland is a perfect playground for the Akoya with all its Lochs and coastline,” said Ms Troillard.
“I lived in Edinburgh for two years and I enjoyed visiting places around the country. The landscape is amazing but I did it by car, not with a seaplane. I would love to see some places from the sky.”
Deliveries of the aircraft to wealthy buyers are due to start next year.