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ICON Aircraft to Deliver First A5 to EAA on Opening Day

  • ICON Aircraft to Deliver First A5 to EAA on Opening Day
    ICON’s new A5 Amphibian skims just above Lake Berryessa in California.

July 9, 2015 - ICON Aircraft’s first customer delivery of its highly anticipated A5 amphibious light-sport aircraft will take place on EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2015 opening day, Monday, July 20, the company has announced. ICON will present the milestone aircraft to the EAA Young Eagles program during a special ceremony starting at 10 a.m. at the ICON Exhibit located on Celebration Way.

Several A5s will be on display in Oshkosh, and ICON also plans to conduct owner demonstration flights during the week. The company plans to transition serial production to its new 140,000-square-foot facility in Vacaville, California, in September.

EAA Director of Publications Jim Busha, who owns and flies a 1943 Aeronca L-3, was one of five aviation journalists invited to Northern California’s Lake Berryessa in June to try out the A5. He came away very impressed.

“It’s about the fun – that’s what flying is about for me,” he said. “I like low-and-slow-flying…windows open, your arm hanging out - there’s nothing better.”

Kirk Hawkins, ICON Founder and CEO, said Busha represented one of the targets ICON plans to focus on. “You are exactly one of the types of people we are gunning for,” he said. “The A5 was not designed or built as a point A to B airplane, or one that could carry a large payload or fly to a destination fast. If you want that, you’re in the wrong room.”

Here’s a preview of Busha’s report that will be the cover story in the August Sport Aviation.

We left the side windows on the beach and began an idle taxi, made some gentle clearing turns on the water looking not only for waterfowl, boats, jets skis, and fishermen but other airplanes flying overhead. With a smooth advancement of the center-mounted throttle we began our step transition to take off. The Seawings platforms not only added stability to the A5 but also provided protection to the propeller from spray. We hit 20 knots and were on the step accelerating to 47 knots as we lifted off — taking only 12 seconds with a 30-degree flap setting.

As we broke away from the water’s friction and ascended quickly to 800 feet AGL, I began my first taste of water landings. Kirk demonstrated one, and I had to look to my left to convince my mind that yes we were actually back on the water — yep, it was that smooth. No teeth-chattering jolt like I expected. It was more like a gentle kiss as the V-hull design certainly absorbed all the friction. He turned to me and said, “It’s your airplane,” as I pushed the throttle forward and barely felt the light chop on my backside.

Back up to pattern altitude, I began my descent as the throttle came back, and I adjusted the electric trim mounted on top of the stick. That’s when Kirk leaned over and covered up the airspeed indicator with his hand and said, “Just fly the white line on the AOA.” As the flaps began to lower and with the AOA pegging the white centerline we were stabilized. “Feels like 58 knots to me,” said Kirk as he lifted his hand off the instrument and like a fortune teller, nailed it.

“It’s a complete travesty in the aviation industry that the requirement or implementation of an AOA inside a cockpit isn’t mandatory. The new student learns about the Bernoulli theory, but there is really no correlation between that and when they actually jump inside the cockpit. That’s why we have so many stall/spin accidents attributed to human error.”

As we neared the waterline he told me to slow my descent and gave the A5 a slightly nose-up attitude. Easing the stick back I looked forward, then to the AOA and saw the needle move from the green into the yellow area as the hull caressed the warm water below.

Kirk was all smiles as I gave him a quick glance and he responded, “You greased that one; congratulations on your first water landing, rookie! Now take me back up and let’s try one more.”

Read the rest of Jim’s report in next month’s issue of Sport Aviation. Learn more about ICON Aircraft.

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