Lake Aircraft Again Puts Assets Up For Sale
It has nothing to do with the economy, according to 70-something-year-old owner Armand Rivard, it's just "time to go fishing." The company, which once employed about 200 people in Maine and Fort Pierce, Fla., and reached peak production of about 100 aircraft per year in the mid 1980's, now retains four people in Kissimmee and two in New Hampshire to support some 1,300 Lake-manufactured aircraft in service throughout the world. Lake Aircraft is currently owned by Rivard's Revo Inc., and the latter will soon offer Lake's assets at a price yet to be determined. Rivard's previous attempts to sell Lake -- in 2001, 2002, 2005 (through what became an uneventful auction at AirVenture Oshkosh) and 2007 -- all fell short. But Lake aircraft remain unique to a market that retains a cost of entry great enough to potentially dissuade competition for years to come, according to Rivard. The assets for sale include the company's rather unique FAA certificate for a single-engine amphibious aircraft, dies and drawings, component and assembly tooling, plus global manufacturing and marketing rights. Revard this time says he's just trying to get a feel for the market, would prefer to sell to an American buyer, and doesn't "need that much" for the company. Lake Aircraft produced all of zero aircraft in 2008 and just one in 2007, but Rivard says that's mostly due to a lack of marketing and that the aircraft's certification in a niche market gives it the potential to corner markets he hasn't properly explored.
While demand for Lake aircraft remains to be seen, tapped or developed by Lake's eventual buyer, the aircraft currently holds a distinction as the only FAA-certified (non-LSA) single-engine amphibious airplane produced in the world. Models offer a 1000-nautical mile range, a 900-foot ground roll or 1300-foot takeoff distance when departing from water. The company's offerings have range from early four-seat models to a stretched 290-hp STC'd version capable of hauling six. The 250-hp Buccaneer even graduated to FAR Part 23 certification. Lake holds eight world records for speed and altitude in its class and Rivard appears to hope a new owner can complete his unfinished explorations into creating a turbine model. All it takes is time, determination and money.
Podcast interview with Armand Rivard