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.
Light Sport Aircraft (LSA) manufacturer, ICON Aircraft, has announced two major design enhancements aimed at to simplifying aircraft complexity and increase safety in its A5 amphibious, two-seat, composite carbon fiber plane
. The first improvement for the plane,which is edging closer to production, is the elimination of wing flaps, which will simplify pilot operations, while the second is a spin-resistant design that will include, amongst other things, the addition of wing cuffs to lower the stall speed of the aircraft.
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.
A recurring theme at Gizmag in recent times has been the growing accessibility of the recreational sports aircraft, with manufacturers offering increasingly versatile and user-friendly designs combined with falling price points. Like the Cessna SkyCatcher
, the ICON A5, which was officially unveiled last week in Los Angeles, is a case in point. Powered by a 100hp Rotax 912 ULS engine achieving an estimated maximum speed of 105 kts (120 mph) and a range of 300 nm, the amphibious, two-seat, composite carbon fiber plane features a sportscar inspired cockpit and retractable landing gear for flying off land and water, but the standout element is the folding wing design which allows the plane to be towed on the road like a speed boat and stored at home rather than paying for space at an airport.