New Zealand LSA manufacturer Vickers Aircraft is looking for investment capital as the company transits from an aircraft developer to a full-fledged aviation company.
Vickers has been developing the Wave amphibious LSA for 12 years, and after the first flight in March this year, is targetting first customer deliveries in 2023. The move to full production will mean expanding with service and support functions for customers.
"Vickers has continually expanded our team to include industry experts that head our design, structures, production, and compliance teams," CEO Paul Vickers said in a communique last week. "This senior leadership is now implementing the production strategy that has been developed over the past 12 months in anticipation of a successful flight-testing program.
"Our planning department has also been working diligently to secure the required materials and items such as engines, to streamline our production ramp.
"The investment to date has been spent on infrastructure, facilities, design, molds, and tooling, and manufacturing compliance, we are now bringing this all together. We have a fully functioning aircraft company and we are putting this in motion."
Vicker said his company wanted to steer clear of venture capitalists and corporate investors, preferring instead to raise money from within the aviation community.
"We are staying away from VC and corporate investors and are looking for passionate aviators who see sense and are not enticed by false narratives such as the current hype around the Evtol and UAM sectors," he said.
"Vickers is reality-based and intends to maintain our composure and integrity."
Vickers says the company has had a philosophy of avoiding unnecessary spending and making promises that it wasn't sure it could keep, leading to a product that will go to market without a cost burden as heavy as some of their competitors, making the sell price more attractive.
"You cannot un-spend money," he said, "so careful planning, realistic targets and actual market requirements all need to be carefully considered as we move towards our 2023 unveiling and deliveries.
"As an example, if we had created a customer support team before we actually had a deliverable product, this incurs a large cost, this cost is then absorbed into the price of the aircraft, which in turn the customer pays for.
"This also applies to air shows, advertising, and large facilities prior to the requirement. This includes not attending Oshkosh this year.
"Our view is to remain focused on our goals, one of which is to display at Oshkosh, for the first time, with a customer-delivered production aircraft.
"A very careful and thought-out approach has been in place for a decade to ensure we make it to market with an aircraft that is affordable.
"These decisions were our building blocks, this can’t be done retrospectively after funds have already been wasted."
Although Vickers will certify the Wave in the LSA category, the aircraft has an MTOW of 839 kg, thanks to an exemption from the FAA.
Fitted with a Rotax 915 iS, the Wave promises a 15,000-foot ceiling, 1400 fpm rate-of-climb, 120 KTAS max speed and an eight-hour endurance from the 189 litre tanks.
Since the first flight in March this year, the Wave has undergone more flight testing and is expected to progress to water operations soon.