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First production ICON A5 amphibian plane unveiled

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July 30, 2014

The first production version of the ICON A5 on display at EAA AirVenture this week (Photo:...

The first production version of the ICON A5 on display at EAA AirVenture this week (Photo: Angus MacKenzie/Gizmag.com)

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Small amphibians are sort of the hot hatchbacks of the aviation world and one aimed at the beginner pilot is always worth a look see. At EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, Light Sport Aircraft (LSA) manufacturer ICON Aircraft debuted its first production A5 amphibious, folding-wing plane for the general public. Built in Tehachapi, California, a second is now under construction for structural testing later this year.

The ICON A5 is designed to be simple to fly with a special flapless wing, spin-resistant airframe, and Angle of Attack (AoA) instrument to prevent stalling. Inside the A5 is an cockpit with an intuitive, distinctly automotive layout marked by a mixture of analog and digital instruments.

Weighing in at 1510 lb (686.4 kg), the two-seater amphibian is equipped with both a carbon composite waterproof hull and optional retractable landing gear. Its 100 bhp Rotax 912 iS petrol engine gives the aircraft a top speed of 105 kts (120 mph, 194 km/h) and a range of 300 nautical miles (345 mi, 555.6 km). The 34 ft (10.36 m) wings are foldable for easy towing, and there’s even an optional complete airplane parachute for the safety conscious.

The Icon A5 instruments

The aircraft unveiled at Oshkosh carries Engineering Serial Number 1 (ESN-1), rolled off assembly in June and made its first flight in July. According to the company, it’s one of the three aircraft needed to verify performance and complete FAA approval. The first customer delivery is scheduled for May of next year, and ICON says that when its new facilities are complete, it will be able to build 500 planes per year.

In addition to the unveiling, ICON announced that one of its first 100 production A5s will be auctioned off with part of the proceeds going to the Veterans Airlift Command, which uses a network of volunteer aircraft to provide free transportation to post 9/11 combat wounded and their families.

The ICON A5 with wings folded (Photo: Angus MacKenzie/Gizmag.com)

“This is one of the most significant milestones to date for ICON. It represents the culmination of years of research, design, engineering, and manufacturing dedication by an outstanding team,” says ICON Aircraft Founder and CEO Kirk Hawkins. “The A5 is no longer a prototype or concept aircraft; it’s a sophisticated, production-ready, consumer-focused aircraft. The entire ICON team is pouring its heart and soul into bringing the A5 to our customers, and it shows in the truly exceptional execution of the product. I couldn’t be prouder.”

The estimated price of the ICON A5 is US$189,000.

The video below details the first production ICON A5.

Source: ICON Aircraft

About the Author
David Szondy David Szondy is a freelance writer based in Monroe, Washington. An award-winning playwright, he has contributed to Charged and iQ magazine and is the author of the website Tales of Future Past.   All articles by David Szondy
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14 Comments

If it flies half as well as it looks, it will be a joy to take to the air (and the water).

One thing is certain, this is not dream just off the drawingboard with only the basic concept realised; this is very definitely a production aircraft with all the bells and whistles in place and functioning. It deserves to succeed.

Mel Tisdale
31st July, 2014 @ 03:00 am PDT

Very nice plane. Looks great and should be built very solid.

Problem is the price. I don't think you will sell 500 a year at $189k.

Lite, slow and expensive 2 seaters are not selling like they thought they would.

I would want a glass panel for that money too. Steam gauges are car like, but to pilots, that is so yesterday technology.

Master DeBlaster
31st July, 2014 @ 05:26 am PDT

Even at $139K, the original price, it is too expensive for a two-seater. What would the production run be if they were, say, 60-80K. Cessna sold 17k aircraft in 1978. At 10K units per year, what could be a viable price point?

dugnology
31st July, 2014 @ 08:21 am PDT

always dreamed of float plane runs to the cottage...but the pricepoint is outside my non-frugal lifestyle :) gorgeous plane that would work well for my needs...

hdm
31st July, 2014 @ 08:31 am PDT

Very nice. Good job guys!

ezeflyer
31st July, 2014 @ 09:27 am PDT

The product looks amazing. They appear to have invested large sums into sophisticated production tooling, but at 500 copies per year, I wonder if that expense has driven the price down or up?

Paulinator
31st July, 2014 @ 10:06 am PDT

the only problem I see with this plane is the looks, cuz it it looks like I want one ! waterproof hull is a nice touch on a sea plane, nice build guys well done.

Jay Finke
31st July, 2014 @ 10:25 am PDT

It looks like around $1 a mile (assuming 250hr/yr. and all sorts of other things - low estimate including maintenance and finance), which is not too crazy, but about 70% or more of that is the depreciation and financing of the $190k+ airplane price (the mfg. site says price rises with CPI.)

Gas at 345mi/20gal.($80) tank is less than 25% of the cost per mile.

The plane's trailerability is a big savings compared to other aircraft, giving lower or non-existent hanger fees and the ability to ferry the plane on the ground at less than half the cost per mile of flying. Avoided airport fees from operating on the water is also a big savings.

EH
31st July, 2014 @ 01:04 pm PDT

500/year ? Hope you make it. I suggest a partner ownership program for us commonfolk. AOPA is trying to make flying less expensive so maybe all the 1% ers will buy.

Mark A
31st July, 2014 @ 09:27 pm PDT

Ideal for flying (rich) hunters or other clients to smaller lake lodges and camping sites!

Would take a while to get back the purchase cost though ...

Live in one of those "fly-in" housing estates and it would simpllify travel to and fro runways as well.

The Skud
31st July, 2014 @ 10:05 pm PDT

What? After all the design into the concepts and prototypes, who authorized that disaster of a paint scheme on the first production plane? I'm stunned.... Unless it's for Evil Knievel, or Lee Greenwood.

Bill Gallagher
1st August, 2014 @ 09:11 pm PDT

Building 500 planes a year is one part of the equation. They have to be able to SELL 500 planes a year. And Icon and all the suppliers have to maintain quality on all components. And 500 planes a year for how many years? What is the total market for this aircraft?

Dave Merriam
1st August, 2014 @ 11:17 pm PDT

@ Master DeBlaster

In a plane I am putting on water I prefer the steam gauges to losing everything to a single loose connection.

Slowburn
2nd August, 2014 @ 12:26 am PDT

It looks really nice - IMO - but the price seems on the high side. I hope they sell a lot of them. Perhaps down the road, some one sells it after they had fun and sell it at a much lower price?

BigGoofyGuy
8th August, 2014 @ 01:12 pm PDT
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