After seven years of development, a revolution in sport aviation is almost ready for departure
Introduced in 2008 the amphibious aircraft ICON A5 generated serious attention well beyond the aviation scene and won the prestigious Red Dot Product Design Award. ICON Aircraft, founded by former F-16 Fighter pilot Kirk Hawkins and skateboard designer Steen Strand, now holds more than 1,000 orders for the A5.
It’s no surprise there is all this pent-up demand. The A5 is the most innovative Light Sport Aircraft on the market and beautifully designed, with carbon composite waterproof hull and a car-like deluxe interior. The A5 attracted beginners as well as experienced pilots: initially a third of the orders were taken by people that don’t even hold a pilot licence so far.
But it’s not only good looking: the amphibious aircraft has a carbon fibre composite airframe which will be made by Cirrus Aircraft, makers of the SR22 all-composite best-seller. Due to the proven spin-resistance of this airframe, the A5 was granted a special permission by the FAA to exceed the weight limits of the LSA class with a max gross takeoff weight of 1510lbs – an 80-pound increase over the standard 1430-pound amphibious LSA maximum. The flawless wing reduces complexity and safety features include an Angle of Attack (AoA) system as standard and an optional complete airplane parachute. With it’s retractable undercarriage the A5 can operate from land runways as well as water. It has wings that fold back to make it easier to trailer the aircraft, and sponsons on the sides of the fuselage to give excellent water handling. They also make it easier to get in and out of the aircraft through the forward-hinged canopy. The cockpit is enclosed, with the seats side by side. The engine is a 100hp Rotax 912iS driving a 3-blade ‘pusher’ prop that should give a claimed maximum speed of 105kt and a range of 300nm. With its fuel injection and an engine management system that automates manual tasks such as adjusting air/fuel mixture and controlling exhaust gas temperatures it reduces the pilot’s workload further more.
The A5 is built in Tehachapi, California and deliveries of the first customer aircraft will start this spring.