July 16, 2008 ICON Aircraft has passed a key hurdle in the development of its innovative, amphibious sport plane design by successfully completing its maiden test flight. The full-scale prototype of the composite carbon fiber, two-seater A5 took to the skies at an undisclosed lake location in California on July 9, demonstrating the aircraft’s performance and flying characteristics during take-off, landing, and low-speed maneuvering flight as well as it on-water capabilities. The versatile A5, which has a folding wing design for easy transport and storage as well as retractable landing gear for flying off land and water, is set to undergo a series of test flights throughout the next year with a view to putting the finishing touches on the design and building a pre-production model for Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and ASTM compliance. Production is expected to commence in late 2010.
The plane was flown by ICON Lead Aero Engineer and Test Pilot Jon Karkow in the initial test flight.“Everything went as well as an initial test flight possibly could go; so I was very pleased,” said Karkow, whise CV includes first flights for the likes of the world-record setting Virgin Atlantic GlobalFlyer flown by the late Steve Fossett. “The aircraft flew exceptionally well and met or exceeded our design expectations. The A5 seems to be a great aircraft right out of the box.”
Designed to be predictable and easy-to-fly, the ICON A5 features a high-strength, lightweight carbon fiber airframe and is powered by a reliable, 100-hp Rotax 912 ULS engine that runs on both auto and aviation gasoline at an estimated top speed of 120 mph. Besides the folding wings, more unique features specific to the ICON A5 include an intuitive, sports car-like cockpit with MP3 port, and patent-pending Seawing platform for easy access and docking on water.
The estimated price of the ICON A5 standard model is USD$139,000