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Aircraft Review : LISA Akoya by Aerobask


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Aircraft Review : LISA Akoya by Aerobask
 
If you are the champion pilot that states...  "If it has a stick and a set of rudder pedals, then I can fly it!". Well here is an aircraft that will certainly test that theory. It is the LISA Akoya...  and what a strange critter of an aircraft it certainly is.
 
The LISA Akoya is a French made two seater aircraft with the unusual set up of a rear high-mounted tractor configuration engine. It looks like a flying Dolphin with wings and that is because it is designed to takeoff from land, water and ice. And only a strange critter like this would come from a developer like Aerobask, and you have to admit it is different. (note the new Aerobask logo)
 
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I am used to seeing strange aircraft outside the Florida office but the Akoya goes that one mad step further. The wings can be rotated back, either for clever aircraft storage or if you want to the aircraft to be also be towed behind a vehicle to the airport from home (on a specially built trailer). Versatile this aircraft is without doubt, you can't do that with your average Cessna 172.
 
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Open the one piece canopy and the cockpit is very simple, clean and modern. But before we go too far we have to make the road dragster look like an aircraft.
 
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In your X-Plane menu Settings/Joystick & Equipment panel you have too set up a few key assignments to extend and retract the wings. I used Shift/E and Shift/R to cover the wings of which the selections can be found on the top X-Plane addon key custom menu. (top red arrow). More key custom commands available include a toggle choice for the wings, CSC or "Constant Speed Controller" options and landing gear options.
 
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Design wise it is a very unusual aircraft. Long fine constant chord thin wings with downturned edges that have an aspect ratio of about 18:1, with those strange upper elevators with slightly upturned tips, and flipper stubby wings by the cockpit and very small airflow stub wings down on the lower tail. And all these aerodynamic surfaces are mounted on a circular cylinder tapered fuselage. All very Burt Rutan in concept.
 
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Two Menu tabs are located lower left of your screen. One is a basic weights and fuel menu and the other a basic checklist binder. You can add in fuel and a one piece luggage bag, but the that small bag can cost you a lot of fuel weight. The menu will show you in red if the aircraft is overloaded. There is the option of canopy tinting or clear (Reflections).
 
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A term for the cockpit could be "Futuristic Minimalism". It has what you need but nothing more. No key just a power button, no trim wheels or buttons, fuel is on/off, no mixture or prop pitch and altogether in here you have just that "a stick and rudder" aircraft with no frills. It all makes even a basic trainer look overloaded with equipment.
 
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The central "War of the Worlds" looking panel is dominated by a twin screen EFIS (Electronic Flight Instrument System) and noted as the "Aerobask (DYNON) SkyView" display. The display is your standard electronic layout with located on the left side is the main Primary Flight Display (PFD) incorporating on the top with an Artificial Horizon/Pitch, Speed and Altitude tapes and built in lower rose/heading dial. A rate of turn/angle gauge is spread across the top.
 
The panel is a menu driven system that is accessed by buttons on the lower display. In menu selections it is really quite basic. available is (left to right) BARO - ENGINE - MAP - FPL (Fightplan) - TIMER - MSG (Message).
 
Most buttons access the information on the right side screen, with "MAP" the main navigation view and "ENGINE" bringing up the engine display.
 
(ENGINE) Engine parameters covered are engine CHT and EGT outputs, MAP INHG (Manifold Absolute Pressure ) Carb ºF and Oil pressure psi/temp, fuel pressure (PSI). Electrical displays covers AMPS and Battery Volts. Fuel quantity and Fuel usage (Fuel flow) is noted in "Gallons per hour". Trim and flap position is also noted
 
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(MSG) the message display gives you items either active (Yellow) or (Red) warnings. (FPL) Fightplan selection is the X-Plane FMS in another form and you can create or save/load the routes in standard .fms route format. The aircraft does not have any autopilot or any means to follow the FMS route, so the flightplan is only displayed there as guide for you to fly by.
 
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Left panel are the two "Magneto" switches (turn off the engine) and two back up instruments in speed and altimeter. The left switches below cover Wings Carb heat - Fuel pump - Cowl flaps - LED test switches. Inner left top is a clever COMM 1 radio, and Start-Power-Choke switches
 
Right Panel Inner are two instruments that are top a "Transponder" and lower the CSC or "Constant Speed Controller". The constant speed Akoya propeller is managed by a controller instrument (CSC-1/P), which monitors and displays the Engine RPM and Manifold Pressure. Instead of a lever the propeller pitch is controlled here and you can set a Propeller Mode of:

MAN : Manual mode
CRS : Cruise mode : Pitch 70 %
CLB : Climb mode : Pitch 99 %

There is a RPM overspeed warning as well. Far right are the lighting switches and panel light (Dynon display) adjusters.

Mid lower panel are three large selectors...  Left flaps in 0-1-2 three positions and right undercarriage up/down, the centre button we will come to later. As noted the layout is just plain basic, no more or no less than you need.

Flying the Akoya

It can get hot very quickly in the Florida sun, so you want to start up and get moving as quick as possible. After the walkround you need to bring in the pitot cover by pressing the "Remove before flight" tag on the rear bulkhead.

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Starting the Akoya is as simple as 1 - 2- 3. First turn on both the magnetos (fuel tank switch is in front of the seats, but it is already switched on) 2. give the engine a little choke if required, a little throttle helps...  then 3. hit the starter switch and the noise will start up high above you. Sounds are very good and it feels like the chop, chop noise is close and is right behind your neck...  of which it is.

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Taxiing was quite easy, but the aircraft is very high-nosed as the Akoya is a tail-dragger (sort of).

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So I kept the taxiway centreline to the left and visible to make sure I had a visual line to follow.

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Power up and you quickly realise that this Akoya flying caper is not going to as easy as it looks. I am very smooth on the throttle, and only give out small stick inputs, but it soon becomes very apparent that there is not a lot of slipstream going over the rear rudder, and whoops your gone...

This second time I tried the "hold brakes and a lot of throttle" theory to try to slingshot the aircraft straight forward as the nicey, nice approach certainly does not work.

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To a point it was more successful. But you are hanging on for your dear life and trying to keep the aircraft as straight as a die on some sort of a straight line...  then the moment the tail rises your in business and you can gain control back and then as the speed rises more you are going to finally slip the Akoya upwards and away from mother earth. overall Nasty!

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Once in the air the Akoya is very nice, and balanced, which is a good thing as there are no pilot-aids at all, it is all stick and rudder flying.

You need only small stick inputs to do what you want, and the aircraft is very nice and neutral. Plenty of power allows you to climb easily at around 800fpm, a 1000fpm is possible, however this is not a "throw the aircraft around in the air " type of machine, its hybrid nature disallows that sort of behavior.

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You do feel you are being pulled (upwards?) as the Rotax 912 ULS flat four cylinder piston with 1:2.34 reduction gearing, delivering 73.5 kW (98.6 hp) does its job. I was surprised that the aircraft was as smooth and as easy to balance as it was considering its odd shape and aerofoil configurations.

But the main feature of the Agoya is its waterbourne abilities. Flying around over Florida's Lakeland area means there should be something below to aim the Akoya's nose at. But first.

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Centre lower panel there is a large button called "Ground". Press it and it turns to "Water" to seal up the aircraft ready to do some swimming.

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You are going to give the little aircraft some chance of not being swamped, by setting on X-Plane's Menu/Weather page the wave height and length. I used .2 of a ft (foot) to keep the swell down to a minimum.

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Flaps down your speed can be less of 70knts, but you need as much a lower speed you can find. A very shallow approach can keep the aircraft at the best position for watery landing, but the speed is critical no matter how slow your descent is. You have to find the very least knots you can, which is not as easy as it sounds while not losing height and not stalling, still too fast and you will easily bounce off the surface like Mr Wallace's "Dambusters" bouncing bomb. It will take a few goes to get a clean perfect water landing just right.

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Once on the water the aircraft is surprisingly great and easy to manoeuvre, very easy to turn or park at a jetty. Opening the canopy will mean you can put your hands in the water and easily do a bit of light fishing, I doubt any sailfish fishing as the fish may pull you with him, than you with the big fish. But it is a nice feature if you want to hop around lakes looking for dinner or fill out the freezer.

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Taking off from the water is far easier than on the runway, as the water tends to help keep the aircraft more in a straight line, pretty soon you are going some knots and are easily skyways again.

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All liveries are French (F) with the LISA logo F-WOOA as default. The two other are WAOW a swipy green and WOOH a garlish pinky-red

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Nightlighting is basic but very good.

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One far right panel adjuster will adjust the Dynon screen, the other the amount of light in the cabin. Not much variation but you easily create the right feel you want from very bright to just showning the instruments, so it is very easy to find the right lighting point you require. Up on the roof above you there is a strange four way vent and cabin lighting arrangement, very well created.

External lighting is basic with Navigation and Strobe. Landing and taxi light in the inner left wing.

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Heading back to KLAL (Lakeland) you reflect on this strange critter of an aircraft.

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Humankind are always looking to do the same thing in very different ways, and to sort of refine the idea. Here the French want to make a two-seater multipurpose aircraft in land-sea-ice operations, and as clever as it is, and it certainly covers all the bases. But it is an aircraft in the real world that is not really a usable machine in the way an DHC-2 Beaver is for example, that aircraft can still do land-sea-ice missions but can also carry more passengers and cargo. The Agoya is really nothing more than a clever hobby aircraft, and yet we need a new design of a workable DHC-2 for today's aviation, and that is why there are so many old tired Beavers still flying around and yet only a few of these sort of aircraft that are struggling to sell.

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Landing the Agoya on wheels is the same frightful challenge as taking off. Once again you are confronted with a very low speed and a very shallow approach as so not to do the bouncys. It is not so easy unless if your speed is not right down to crawl slow to suddenly find yourself hopping hopelessly down the runway. In finally get those narrow set wheels actually down on the hard stuff and you are then confronted with trying to keep the aircraft in a long straight line and not quickly disappearing into a rounding spin off into the scenery.  It is fun the first few times, unless you master it. 

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The Akoya is not your usual General Aviation aircraft, yes versatile it is and even fun, but I think the aircraft will be more in the oddity section of aviation than mainstream....  great for fishing though.

Performance

Cruising speed: 210 km/h (130 mph; 113 kn) economical
Stall speed: 64 km/h (40 mph; 35 kn) flaps down
Never exceed speed: 290 km/h (180 mph; 157 kn)
Range: 1,250[13] km (777 mi; 675 nmi) at economical cruising speed without optional tank
Rate of climb: 5.2 m/s (1,020 ft/min) maximum

Summary

Weird, fishy, strange but interesting. Yes the Akoya is a very critter of a strange fish. Hard to takeoff and land (on the hard stuff) but I don't doubt many pilots will see the challenge and the versatility in the aircraft. I wish there was more navigation aids, even in a course adjustment to angle in runways, but the aircraft is very basic in that area.

Certainly a clever design by Aerobask, and very well created and in keeping with their usual high standards.

So where can you buy the LISA Agoya from Aerobask?  Well you can't just yet. The aircraft will be bundled (free) with the soon forthcoming "Victory" light passenger jet. So you get two aircraft for one price. If demand is there then the Agoya might be listed as a stand alone purchase.

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Installation :   Download aircraft file size is 226.60mb. Installed file size is 268.40

Documents : One in depth manual and one real document "csc_manual-pv50"

Developer Site : Aerobask

Manufacturer Site : LISA Airplanes

Requirements

Windows, Mac OS, Linux (please refer to the requirements of X-Plane®)
X-Plane® 10.40 (64-bit only!) or higher
 
_____________________________________________________________________________________
 
Preview by Stephen Dutton
 
27th January 2016
 
Copyright©2016: X-PlaneReviews

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