Since the FAA’s dramatic regulation changes in 2004 created the new Light Sport Aircraft category, ICON Aircraft’s sole purpose has been to bring the freedom, fun, and adventure of flying to all who have dreamed of flight. With these ground-breaking FAA rules solidified, ICON believes that consumer-focused sport aircraft can do for recreational flying what personal watercraft did for boating.
ICON’s sport aircraft are not only designed to deliver an amazing and safe flying experience, but also to inspire us the way great sports cars do. After years of development with some of the world’s best aerospace engineers and industrial designers, ICON Aircraft has released the first of its line of sport planes, the ICON A5. The A5 is a bold yet elegant design that communicates beauty, performance, safety, and most importantly… fun.
ICON was founded in 2005 by Kirk Hawkins. Hawkins, a graduate from the Stanford Business School, is an accomplished engineer, former U.S. Air Force F-16 pilot, and long-time motorsport enthusiast. With its world-class team of engineers, designers, advisors, and investors, ICON is located in Southern California – home of the world’s largest concentration of both aerospace and automobile design resources. ICON’s engineering and development team came from Burt Rutan’s famed Scaled Composites, which created such record setting projects as Voyager, Global Flyer, the X-Prize winning SpaceShipOne, and Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo.
Has the ICON A5 flown yet?
Yes. The A5 prototype has entered Phase I flight testing and flew for the first time on July 9, 2008. The full-scale prototype aircraft is scheduled to undergo several phases of test flights over the next year before the design is finalized. After flight testing, a pre-production model will be built to verify all the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and ASTM compliance standards before entering production in late 2010.
Who designed the plane?
The ICON engineering team worked in sync with external, automotive designers over a period of several design phases to perfect the consumer-oriented design. The first phase was completed in-house. The second phase involved numerous designers from some of the world’s top car brands, including BMW, Porsche, Rolls Royce, and others. The final detailed phase was completed by Nissan’s renowned advanced design studio, creator of the award-winning 350Z sports car. Troy Lee Designs, the leader in motorsports racing design, applied final aesthetic touches and graphics.
What kind of avionics will it have?
ICON’s philosophy in regards to cockpit instrumentation is to optimize the essential information the pilot needs, for readability in an aesthetically pleasing package. By removing any non-essential instrumentation, the instrument panel affords the pilot more time to interact with his passenger and to enjoy the scenery outside. This is not a head down, transportation-oriented cockpit for flying in marginal weather or in congested airspace – this is a fun to fly, look out the window type of plane.
What instruments are included in the panel?
The pilot side will include: Angle of Attack (AOA) indicator, airspeed indicator, altimeter, fuel level, tachometer, oil temperature, oil pressure, cylinder head temperature, and caution lights. The center console will include: GPS, VHF radio, intercom, transponder, landing gear and flap switches, pitch trim indicator, and environmental controls. In addition the panel will include various switches for ignition, battery power, lights, etc.
Is ICON offering a glass cockpit?
An available option is an enhanced cockpit with LCD screen (â€œglassâ€ panel) for night VFR flying. This option replaces the pilot’s side gauges with a computer screen displaying the same indications plus a few others necessary for night flight.
What is it made of, is it composite or aluminum?
The modern frame is lightweight, high-strength composite material comprised of carbon fiber that is durable and corrosion resistant, which is preferred for amphibious planes and seaplanes.
How many passengers and how much luggage can the plane carry?
According to Light Sport Aircraft rules, amphibious and seaplanes may not exceed 1,430 pounds in gross weight, including people, luggage and fuel. The ICON A5 useful load is currently estimated to be 430-530 pounds depending on the mix of options a customer selects to customize the A5.
How do you fold the wings?
The wings can be manually folded one at a time in as little as five minutes, or with the available automatic option, the wings can be folded by engaging the mechanism from inside the cockpit in less than 60 seconds.
Is it aerobatic?
No, Light Sport Aircraft are not capable of aerobatics or stunts, which are handled by specialty aircraft designed to be flown by experienced aerobatic pilots.
What type of engine does it have?
The ICON A5 is equipped with the proven and reliable Rotax powerplant, the most common engine in the Light Sport Aircraft category. The Rotax 912 ULS is a very fuel efficient, 4-cycle, 100-hp, liquid-cooled powerplant capable of up to 25-mpg fuel efficiency.
What type of fuel does it take?
The aircraft takes both automotive and aviation gasoline, so it can be fueled at an automobile service station while on the trailer, at home with a gas can, at a boat marina, and at an airport. This results in significant cost savings as automotive gasoline is generally more affordable and burns cleaner than leaded aviation fuel.
How high can the ICON A5 fly?
The ICON A5 has a service ceiling (maximum altitude) of 15,000 ft., but Sport Pilot rules limit altitude to 10,000 ft. unless the pilot has a more advanced pilot license. The maximum level flight speed at 10,000 ft. is 95 kts (10 kts less than sea level) and the rate of climb is still in excess of 300 feet per minute.
The current altitude limitation set by the FAA on Light Sport Aircraft and Sport Pilot License is a maximum altitude of 10,000 ft. However, there is a potential revision to the rules being proposed that would allow Sport Pilots to fly to whichever altitude is higher: 10,000 MSL or 2,000 AGL. Stay tuned for updates as they come from the FAA.
Where can it land?
The ICON A5 is amphibious so it can land and takeoff on both water and on land with its retractable landing gear.
Is there a customized trailer available for the ICON?
Yes, a customized, double axle ICON trailer will be available as an option.
When do you expect FAA certification?
ICON expects to receive our airworthiness certificate during the production ramp up in 2010.