A parallel Worlds

Sunday November 13 2011 / Science & Technology

Switzerland. Land of high-end watches, stunning mountains and beautiful lakes.

Spending the morning relaxing on, say, Lake Geneva on your yacht with a book and fishing rod is a pretty good way to start the day. Catching stunning views from on top of a snow-capped Swiss Alp in the afternoon is a nice way to follow that up.

But let’s say our peak of choice is not located in the nearby Mont Blanc massif but in the Albula Alps on the other side of the country. Getting from Geneva to Graubünden, from low down water to snow high up 280km/175 miles away in a matter of hours sounds like a near-impossible day out.

Not if you’re travelling using the super stylish Akoya by Lisa Airplanes. The French company’s flagship model is a sleek, top-of-the-range, two-seat aircraft and the only one able to take off and land on water, land and snow without any prior modification thanks to a combination of retractable landing gear, skis-in and hydrofoils.

The retractable landing gear is equipped with skis-in. If the pilot wants to land on snow, he or she presses a button and skis pop out on the wheels. The hydrofoils – wing-like structures under the fuselage – provide lift, raising the fuselage out of the water at low speeds and dispensing with the need for a step or hull.

The versatile plane is big on luxury and efficiency in equal measure – its aerodynamic shape generates relatively little drag in flight to ensure lower fuel consumption while its carbon frame is both strong and very lightweight.

The cockpit’s design and materials have been selected to blend aesthetics and comfort. The cabin is spacious and the seats ergonomic while the front window provides a 180° panoramic view.

What’s more, the engine and transmission unit are placed at the rear of the aircraft, distancing any engine noise and propeller-generated turbulence from the cockpit, making the Akoya’s interior quieter than a regular light aircraft.

So with the Akoya, taking off near your yacht is no problem. Flying to your private property – easy. Changing direction mid-flight and visiting a snowy peak – an absolute cinch. In fact, the Akoya’s 1,100km (685 miles) range means the pilot has plenty of destinations to choose from.

Oh, and of course if, by chance, the engine cuts out, the emergency landing strategies at your disposal include landing in a field, on a river or on a polar ice cap and if none of those seem viable, then the Akoya also has a built-in parachute which will take the whole plane and its passengers safely to the ground.

And once on back on land/water/snow, the Akoya can be easily stowed in a garage or on a yacht thanks to its cool folding wings.

The Akoya was developed with the aim of offering a totally different product on the market for light aircraft, combining high performance, comfort, design and energy savings while providing maximum freedom,” say the Lisa Airplanes team. “It’s not just a product; it is a gateway to a new lifestyle.”

 First deliveries of the Akoya are planned for summer next year and the aircraft will set you back around €300,000.

 For more information on the Akoya and Lisa Airplanes, please visit http://www.lisa-airplanes.com/


Suggested by
Maximilian Büsser