Iconas Aircraft is a company that specializes in the production of the iconas A5 amphibious light sport aircraft. Its goal is to reach a market that it feels has been ignored in the general aviation industry.
Developed by Kirk Hawkins, a retired F-16 pilot and engineer, the A5 is designed for the outdoors recreation segment. It’s also meant to appeal to people who don’t have the experience or qualifications to fly a typical general aviation plane.
The A5’s Design
The A5 has a unique design that is a combination of aerodynamic efficiency and ergonomic comfort. This makes it an ideal airplane for both pilots and non-pilots. It also satisfies the demands of the LSA-SES category and offers an affordable way for those interested in flying to learn the sport.
Fantastic Light Sport Aircraft
The iconas A5 is a true light sport aircraft and has the capability to fly from both land and water, allowing its users to go anywhere they want. Moreover, the A5’s folding wings make it easy to tow and store on a trailer in a garage or driveway, making it an excellent choice for people who do not have access to an airport.
Great Adventure Experience
ICON’s designers have put great thought into every detail of the A5’s design, creating a craft that is a pleasure to fly and an adventure to experience. This has been accomplished through their unyielding commitment to safety, which includes the incorporation of a Spin-Resistant Airframe, a full airplane parachute and an Angle of Attack indicator that provides critical, yet intuitive inflight information for the pilot.
In addition, the A5’s cockpit is designed in the spirit of a sports car. This allows the pilot to enjoy a relaxing and immersive flying experience with the windows open.
Bucket Seats and Center Stick
The A5’s cockpit is designed with two bucket seats, and the ailerons are controlled by a center stick. iconas pilots love the seating, which is comfortable and supportive. They can also choose a Garmin 796 avionics suite or G3X Touch flight display to enhance their experience.
Another important design aspect of the A5 is its fuel system. The aircraft features a single fuselage-mounted tank, with an incredibly accurate self-calibrating fuel indicating system. This saves the pilot a lot of time, and the engine doesn’t have to be sampled to verify that it has clean fuel.
The A5 is powered by a Rotax 912 iS fuel-injected engine, which can be operated on both aviation and automotive gas. The engine is rated at 100 horsepower and has an overhaul interval of 2,000 hours. This is an advantage over carburetted engines, which typically require more frequent maintenance and higher oil change costs.
The A5’s Technology
The A5 features a number of innovative engineering technologies that make flying more enjoyable, safer and more accessible. These include an easy-to-read Angle of Attack (AOA) gauge and a spin-resistance design that reduces the risk of stalling and other flying hazards.
What is AOA
AOA is a term that refers to the angle of an aircraft’s wings, which help create lift when the plane is in flight. Pilots need to know how much lift their wings are creating in order to control the airplane and avoid aero stalls, which can lead to out-of-control crashes or injuries.
In order to combat this, the A5 features an easy-to-read AOA gauge that shows a needle pointing into green and yellow arcs or red lines depending on how much lift is being created by the wings. When the needle hits the red line, it means that there is not enough lift being created by the wings and that the aircraft is entering a stall.
- This feature is an excellent addition to the A5’s overall safety system and makes it more likely that pilots will avoid aero stalls, which can cause serious or even fatal accidents. The A5’s AOA gauge is positioned in the cockpit so that pilots can see it clearly, and it also comes with an audible alarm if the needle hits a red line.
- Another safety feature is the A5’s cuffed wing design, which helps keep the aircraft stable and allows pilots to fly the plane for longer periods of time without getting tired or experiencing any difficulty. The cuffed wing also helps make the A5 more resistant to spinning, which helps ensure that it won’t crash or lose control while in flight.
- One of the most exciting features about the A5 is its foldable wings, which allow the pilot to change the width of the airplane in just a few seconds. These wings also automatically align when the plane is folded, so that it stays as stable and safe as possible.
The A5 Safety
iconas Aircraft has a lot of different aircraft in its line, but the A5 is especially targeted toward people who fly for fun. It’s a safe airplane, and it can be flown by anyone with a sport pilot license and at least 20 hours of flight experience.
The A5’s safety has been a big focus for Icon since its inception, and that is evident in the design of the A5. With the A5, you can take off in the air then land on the water, or takeoff on the water then fly back to the air.
In addition to the A5’s design, iconas also made sure to include a few unique safety features that you won’t see on any other amphibious aircraft. They are:
- Planning Wingtips: The A5’s wings have flat surfaces at the bottom that help them skim along the water when it may be rough. This helps to prevent the wings from slamming into the surface and getting stuck.
- Angle of Attack Instrument: The A5’s dash panel features an angle of attack indicator that shows you if your airplane is about to stall or not. This is a very important piece of information for any pilot to have when flying.
- Spin-Resistant Airframe: The A5’s airframe was designed with the safety of the pilot in mind, and it is one of the most spin-resistant amphibious aircraft on the market today. It was designed to withstand the forces of an engine failure and also the stresses of being launched from the water.
- Icon Parachute System: The A5 is equipped with an Icon parachute system that can be deployed in the event of a crash or other mishap. This is a very valuable feature because it can help pilots recover the aircraft.
- Easy to Fly: The A5’s controls are intuitive and simple to operate. With a few lessons, even novices will quickly learn how to control the aircraft.
- Low Stall Speed: The A5’s stall speed is very low for its category. This makes it easy for novices to get accustomed to flying and allows them to become comfortable in the airplane before they attempt to fly on their own.
Iconas Aircraft A5 Training
As a maker of adventure-sport aircraft, Icon Aircraft has to balance a strong focus on safety with a fun attitude that attracts new buyers who may not have thought about aviation before. This is a challenge Icon has taken on, and it has worked well so far.
Icon has been working on the A5 amphibious aircraft since 2008, and in that time, they have flight-tested and retested it several times. Eventually, iconas received an FAA type certification for its amphibious aircraft under the light-sport category.
After a rocky start, Icon has started production and is scheduled to deliver the first A5s in November of this year. In the meantime, Icon has opened two training centers (IFCs) in Vacaville, California and Tampa, Florida. A third is scheduled to open in Texas later this year.
At the training centers, instructors train both new and experienced pilots to fly the A5. Students can take an ab initio LSA course for a basic LSA endorsement in the A5 or an LSA seaplane transition course for an existing floatplane rating or water endorsement.
In the course of the training, pilots learn to use their A5’s angle of attack gauge, which provides information on how much power and flaps they have to make landings on the water and in rough weather conditions. They also get to practice rough-water flying techniques, including step taxiing, beaching and ramping.
Once the student has mastered these skills, the instructor will take them through advanced water operations. The student will then take a check ride with a senior instructor where they demonstrate proficiency of all maneuvers and receive their seaplane endorsement in their logbook to fly the A5.
As an iconas Flight Training Partner, Giving Wings Aviation has three ICON Authorized Flight Instructors on staff, who are based at Cherry Capital Airport in Traverse City, MI. The IFC is a Distingishuised Flight School recognized by the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, so pilots can feel confident in their instructor’s knowledge of the iconas A5 when they complete their training and proficiency flights.