Picture this; you’re stopped on the freeway and you’re in rush hour. Its been a long day, its hot and nothing is moving but your sweat. A thought occurs; ‘If I could fly, I’d be home already.’ Well, here’s the deal; premier Adrenalists can actually take advantage of that thought, and the cost won’t bust the bank either.
In 2005, an enterprising former military pilot named Kirk Hawkins hit on an idea, ‘How about I design a light aircraft that combines style, range, speed and fun, with safe, easy flying, at a reasonable price.’ Six years later, the result of Hawkins’ original brainstorm has evolved to become the Light Sport ICON A5, and to be sure, the little airplane is a very cool toy.
Operating from his manufacturing facility near Marina Del Rey, California, Hawkins and the ICON team have produced one of the most aesthetically attractive aviation designs in a long time. Along with the airplane’s good looks, it also illustrates an old aviation homily suggesting that ‘if an airplane looks good, it’ll probably fly good,’ and clearly the the nimble little A5 meets this belief in spades.
Along with good flying characteristics the airplane offers something that most other light airplanes don’t, since the A5 can operate from either land or water. And, if that isn’t enough, the ICON offers a unique fold and swivel mechanism that allows the airplane’s wings to be stored along the sides of the fuselage. The resulting package is so compact that it can be trailered behind a standard sedan, SUV or light pickup, and subsequently parked in a home driveway.
Another advantage of the A5 is its selling price. The standard ICON’s MSRP is only $139,000 which is directly competitive with airplanes like a properly-equipped Cessna 162 Skycatcher, even though this airplane offers only land-based operation. Part of the reduced priced is based on the ICON’s composite construction and innovative engineering, but since the airplane only seats two, and weighs a maximum of 1430 lbs wet (structure plus oils/lubricants and fuel), the airplane’s performance and capacities operate within what is referred to as the ‘Light Sport Aircraft’ category.
According to the FAA this means that the airplane must be based on a simple engineering design, carry a maximum of two passengers (pilot/passenger), offer a single-engine with a fixed prop, cannot be pressurized and can not exceed 120 knots (138 mph) in level flight. These category constraints keep the technical cost of the airplane low, even though the A5 is still about as high-tech as it can be.
The styling of the airplane is striking and smacks of automotive appointments, including an instrument panel layout that looks more like a new Mazda 5 sportscar than a light airplane. The control setup is obvious and easy to scan for both highly-experienced or novice pilots. The cockpit is roomy and offers good visibility.
Standard instrumentation includes a GPS moving map system, standard analog flight indicators (per ASTM LSA standards), an cockpit intercom system, a VHF communication radio package, a Mode C Transponder. Mechanically, the aircraft is fitted out with retractable landing gear and a manual ‘fold and store’ system. On the options side, the A5 can also be fitted out with a ballistic parachute for additional safety, plus a night flight lighting package, an attitude indicator, and the company offers a custom trailer rig.
All in all the little airplane offers all the right stuff at the right price to any Adrenalist who wants to go beyond the hum drum. With better than 143 deposits already in the bank ICON is obviously doing the right things in the market and good for them, particularly with the economy the way it is currently. To learn more about the A5 contact ICON aircraft at 12511 Beatrice St, Los Angeles, CA 90066, call (424) 201-3500, or by email on .