LISA Airplanes Forced Into Receivership
LISA Airplanes hopes receivership will protect the company’s future and allow eventual development of the AKOYA amphibious LSA it displayed at Oshkosh this year.
By Marino Boric, EAA European Correspondent
August 22, 2012 - French company LISA Airplanes, which experienced what it called "a very successful debut" of its new AKOYA aircraft at EAA AirVenture 2012, placed the company into receivership on July 30, 2012, "in order to protect its future," according to a statement released late last week. Maker of the "can-land-anywhere" airplane claims the move was necessary when investors failed to fulfill their commitments as the company was finalizing fundraising bound to the commercial development of the company.
"As the selected investors were not able to fulfill their commitment, and the historical shareholders could not secure LISA Airplanes' financial plan, the founders decided to place the company into receivership on July 30," LISA stated. The request was accepted by the Commercial Court of Chambery/France.
LISA Airplanes was established 2004 in southern France by Erick Herzberger and Luc Bernole with the ambition to design and develop the AKOYA. The stylish amphibious aircraft that can land on water, hard surfaces, and snow made its first public appearance at AERO 2007 in Friedrichshafen, Germany, and a final prototype was completed at the end of 2011. This fully composite, high-wing design with folding wings completed its first trial phase by mid-2011 and has been flying regularly since early May 2012.
Markedly different than other amphibious aircraft, AKOYA incorporates two shark-like hydrofoils that protrude on the underside of the otherwise clean, round, step-less fuselage. AKOYA has the capability to land on snow in skiplane configuration; even with skis the gear is retractable. The all-composite fuselage, with a 100-hp Rotax 912S engine mounted on top of the vertical stabilizer in tractor configuration, allows AKOYA to reach 135 knots maximum speed in the European ultralight version. The planned U.S. LSA version will have to be slowed down to an LSA-conforming top speed of 120 knots.
Since 2005, to reach its ambitious goal, LISA Airplanes was financed 80 percent by private funds (Business Angels, startup funds, investment funds). After the current prototype was built - the one shown at Oshkosh this year - preparations started for serial production. Additional funding required for the ramp-up was not successful.
Vanessa Troillard, LISA Airplanes U.S. marketing manager, told EAA that the U.S. AKOYA debut was really encouraging for the LISA staff and that contacts made during the Oshkosh week could assure the company's future. The favorable response led to contacts with U.S. and other international investors with strong interest of Far East and Chinese companies.