Plane Will Make Public Debut Monday Morning
Startup light-sport aircraft manufacturer ICON unveiled its
original prototype aircraft at Oshkosh during a media-only
reception Sunday, ahead of a scheduled public unveiling Monday
morning at 10:30 AM on AeroShell Square.
As ANN has reported, the A5 is an amphibious
two seat aircraft which touts a wing design that folds back at a
flip of the switch. This takes about 20 seconds to accomplish and
allows for ease of transportation on the road as well as in the
The company previously hosted a lavish private unveiling back in
June in Los Angeles, CA. ICON's marketing department also pulled
out all the stops for Sunday's event.
Going for that ever-popular 'shock and awe' value, the company
attempted to evoke the inspiration and spirit of sport aviation
(and even succeeded somewhat, tough to do before a crowd of jaded
aviation journalists.) As CEO Kirk Hawkins said, "ICON is here to
bring the sport and adventure back in flying."
With a base purchase price of $139,000, the A5 is meant to
attract those customers that may not have been able to afford the
freedom of flying.
"Innovation creates new markets, and that's what ICON has done,"
said Eclipse Aviation founder Vern Raburn, who sits on the board of
directors for ICON.
So what do we know now that we didn't know six weeks ago? Well,
for those who are interested, some new specs have come out that are
also available on their website. ICON publicizes a max gross weight
of 1430 lbs -- the company gains an extra 110 lbs of wiggle-room
under light sport rules by virtue of the A5's amphibious nature --
and useful load of 430 to 530 lbs, depending on options. They
also touts a fuel capacity of 20 gallons, and a true airspeed of
105kts at sea level.
ICON says the A5 also offers a conservative range of 300NM, and
the ability to remove the cockpit windows so the pilot can really
enjoy the thrill of aviation.
Alas, what we don't know yet is also vital. Because this
aircraft is new, future test flights still need to be completed.
Therefore, critical flight data like stall speeds need to be
determined. Parachute testing (which is an option) also needs to be
accomplished. Because of this, the form and functionality of this
aircraft can only be speculated at this time. What the future holds
for ICON remains to be seen.
Although ICON has a way to go before their aircraft actually
hits the market -- the company targets customer availability
sometime in late 2010 -- you can still pre-order one at Oshkosh. As
of now, ICON says it has orders placed for 211 aircraft.