“When you get into the larger aircraft it becomes like a hotel, with dozens of staff supporting the plane based in a galley area down below. You have very comprehensive cooking facilities, and on larger aircraft we have looked at theatres, with spiral staircases and a Steinway grand piano. The limitations for what you can put inside a plane are pretty much the limits of physics, and even money cannot always overcome that. Even so, people are still always trying to push [the limits]. ”
Land almost anywhere
Two forthcoming light sport airplanes offer the aviation equivalent of the Swiss Army knife in terms of their versatility.
Able to alight on water, unpaved runways or even snow (with retractable skis), the Akoya from France's Lisa Airplanes is expected to carry its first passengers this summer. Priced under half a million dollars-including pilot training and three years of maintenance-the single-engine, piston-powered aircraft has a range of more than 800 nautical miles and is being touted by its manufacturer as the perfect mega-yacht accessory.
Icon's A5, another light amphibian, is currently undergoing flight testing and is expected to begin production next year. The Los Angeles manufacturer claims to have nearly 400 orders for the airplane, which uses the same engine as the Akoya but has a lower price (around $139,000) and shorter range (300 nautical miles).
Both airplanes have folding wings to ease transport and both require only an FAA Sport Pilot license, which restricts flights to daytime, good weather and uncongested airspace. While neither aircraft is particularly fast, either model could certainly help you reach your favorite waterfront destinations.