LISA Airplanes conducts flight tests of its high-speed, long-distance AKOYA amphibious skiplane, whose structures are made primarily of composites. The plane is shown taking off at low speed from France's Bourget Lake. (Source: LISA Airplanes)
One place this design might find a lot of use is in Alaska. Long distances, lots of snow and water would seem to be an ideal set of requirements for this airplane to fulfill. Also Alaska has a long history of bush pilots and airplanes. Not that this design is anything like a bush plane.
Bill, the AKOYA is designed and custom built by a French company, not an American one. The FAA has no say about aircraft built and flown in Europe, only about those sold in the US.
"Build in the functionality you want" is a metaphor, not an invitation to a kit builder. The website clearly states "LISA Airplanes - a French company with international ambitions - creates, produces and distributes top of the range airplanes, products and services."
Rusting away is a good part of it but just as important is it's not the way they do it mentality also. Now add they weigh under 500kg in the 2 seat sizes and they just can't handle that much change.
As far as crash protection it can be excellent as always the correct design means even more. I use F-1 crash tech, hard driver/passenger area with energy absorbing ends.
While I think another SUV hitting an SUV won't be good either with good design lighter composite vehicles can survive better than in steel. Some of my designs crash systems is patentable but others like foam, l etc are well known as is the way F1's keep a driver safe at 200mph into a hard wall and walk away.
Probably the best use of my FreedomEV all composite 2 front wheel 3wheeler is for cop patrol with a single center seat that if well 4-5 point seatbelted in could survive almost anything. And cutting their energy use by 90% in that service especially in the southern heat with the AC, etc run from the batteries. Burning 20hp to get 1kw just isn't smart.
Another thing in light vehicles is you can't put too much force on them as if designed to, will just get pushed, spun usually, aside. I know this from experiece!!! I was rear ended in one by a compact car at about 25mph which totaled the car and only cost me $40 to get mine back on the road with no injuries to me.
Why is I designed the rear wheel to take the hit which also raises up the rear letting the car slide under it and worked just as designed. I never expected to test it and was extremely happy it worked ;^P
If they wanted to they know how. Check out these GM Ultralite, RunAbout and Aero they did decades ago. And 80mpg or better!! Yet they can't do it now? Why? Because it scares the hell out of them to change.
Thanks for the detailed reply, @Jerry. Valuable information! When it comes to the use of composites in automobiles, do you really suspect the disruptive nature of a non-rusting last forever component or could it be safety? I know tensile strength and toughness of composites far surpass the values for steel and light-weight alloys, but I have not seen a composite vehicle in a crash test. I just don't have any data on how a 2000-lb composite passenger car would make out in a collision with a 4500-lb steel-frame SUV...
Composites sell starting at 100+ lb lots for fiber or polyster resins used to cost $1-2/lb for various fiberglasses with higher tech ones the higher side. Now they are hitting about 2x's that.
Composites have been scaled since 65 and 1 reason I like it as I can buy OEM size lots at OEM prices. Here in Fla we have the largest boat industry in the US so you won't find a lot of things but, we have composite, boat suppliers coming out of our ears so a very competitive market with all the players.
Epoxies have too as have various cores starting at higher levels. Cores especially have went up which is interesting as they have the least material. I'm just getting back into composites and haven't got the most recent CF, Kevlar prices but price in news items about it haven't come down. As I have need of Kevlar or similar fabric soon I'll be finding out exactly how much.
For most the inflation over the last 10 yrs caused by Repub stupid energy, war, ballooning debt policies has over doubled raw materials and CEO's, board members salaries have increased greatly is the main driver as energy as oil feedstock for many resins or for converting sand to FG, etc takes costly fuels, are the main reasons .
As for highly trained labor if I can't teach someone in a few hrs they are history. Then have them help some else for a couple months. If they are not really good by then, bye. It's how I started and just not hard.
Hand lay-up Labor, molds, etc for composite parts is rarely more than materials cost and usually far less, depending on number, etc. If hand layup is worth it depends on the part and it's value. Larger and strong, light part specs is hand lay up sweet spot.
I've done the numbers on car body/chassis and have one a few feet from me says they can be built for the same or less than in steel, alum while being stronger, better. I can do that for about any car, truck design cutting vehicle weight, thus cost by 30+%, thus better mileage and smaller drivetrain, saving much cost.
The reason you don't see them is big auto is afraid of building a car, truck that doesn't rust away thus needing replacement. Same with EV's, too few parts to replace, sell.
Luckily resins, Kevlar can be made from biomass. Solar furnaces can produce FG and likely CF from sand and biomass. CF is already made from biomass. Add it's high strength, lightweight and doesn't rust and for many things it's the smart choice.