At the intersection where art meets aviation, you will find the beautifully crafted amphibious light-sport aircraft called the A5-Icon. This revolutionary aircraft, according to Founder and CEO Kirk Hawkins, is “designed to interact with your world in a very visceral way.” From its jet ski-like maneuverability during water landings to its spin resistant airframe, the A5 comes fully equipped with some of the best features a novice pilot could ever dream of.
During production, safety was of utmost importance and incorporated every step of the way during the aircraft’s design. The Icon A5 is the first production airplane to meet full envelope FAA part 23 spin resistance standards. With 42% of all pilot-related fatalities due to stall/spins (loss of control), the A5-Icon engineering team took its sweet ol’ time designing this spin resistant light-sport aircraft. The A5-Icon accomplished three things during production: The plane’s “wing cuff” assists pilots during slow flight making it resistant to spins; because of this unique design, the plane is easily controllable during a stall. The A5-Icon’s safety innovation was tested against the C-150 (a popular light-sport aircraft). After initiating a spin in both planes, the C-150 ends up in an instant spin plunging to the earth below; meanwhile, the A5-Icon maintained its altitude with its nose staying perfectly idle. The pilot, even with engine failure, has full control and can maneuver the plane even during a slow decent.
Just like the spin resistance test, the A5-Icon slow descent feature was compared to the fall rate of a parachute (1200 ft per minute). With complete engine failure – meaning a pilot relying solely on maneuverability without propelled assistance – the A5-Icon decent rate was 1000 ft per minute. You can bring this plane down, after stall, and land in a nearby lake without the use of the engine. Still concerned about safety? If so, the A5-Icon comes with a rocket-powered parachute that deploys in about two seconds, bringing your plane down safe and sound in case of engine failure. They truly thought of everything.
Flying Reviews from Experienced Pilots
Is the A5-Icon light-sport aircraft designed with speed in mind? The answer is… not so much. With top speeds of 109 mph this two-seater, folding wing marvel won’t get you to your final destination with jet-like expedience. With that being said, its maneuverability in the air and especially on water can only be described as top notch. According to Marc Lee, Contributing Editor for Plane & Pilot, the A5-Icon has “great control harmony, unbelievable feel, and flies like a dream.” Jim Busha, Director of Publications at EAA said, “there is nothing better than letting your arm hang out of this airplane and letting the world go by. It’s perfect.”
The water performance is considered the “best ever done” for a light-sport aircraft. With 500-700 foot takeoff clearance needed in water, the A5-Icon maneuvers more like a jet ski and can handle choppy waters (designed for up to 18” waves). The sea wing design keeps the propeller completely dry during water take-offs or landings. With take-off and landing speeds of 45 miles per hour, the plane is extremely comfortable at low altitudes.
Taking your A5-Icon out for a spin is as easy as launching or retrieving your boat at the marina. The A5-Icon was specifically designed for mobility. Whether you’re storing the plane in your garage (showing up a neighbor) or using a nearby lake as a runway, the goal of the A5-Icon is to take a plane out of its controlled environment for the sake of adventure.
Designed for Novice Pilots
From the cockpit design to the ease of maneuverability, there is no question the A5-Icon’s engineering is specifically tailored to the novice pilot. Whether it’s someone with a student pilot license or a beginner pilot interested in flight hours, the goal was to deliver all the bells and whistles for a recreational flying mission and at the same time, have someone who has never flown before say, “I could do this.” During its launch to experienced pilots outside of the company, the widespread consensus was that it took a relatively small amount of time (sometimes only 20 minutes) to get accustomed to flying the plane. With safety features ranging from spin resistance to rocket-powered parachutes, this is a great choice for beginning pilots.
Without question, the A5-Icon’s engineering team got it right when it set out to design “the most beautiful light-sport aircraft in the world.” It’s unique wing fold system, for example, means you can head out and take off, whenever you choose, wherever you choose – whether that be a dirt path, lake launch, or at the nearest airport runway. Just hitch your plane to the back of your SUV and you’re ready for the next adventure. The aircraft is designed with safety in mind attracting novice pilots interested in learning to fly and reassuring passengers during their travels. As the A5-Icon Founder & CEO so eloquently puts it: “The A5 comes equipped with some of the best features we hope you never need.”