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02.08.09

ICON Aircraft Successfully Completes Phase I Flight Testing

Icon Aircraft - Los Angeles, CA

ICON Aircraft, an early stage Light Sport Aircraft (LSA) manufacturer (www.iconaircraft.com), officially completed Phase I Flight Testing of their amphibious sport plane, the ICON A5. A series of 27 flights were successfully flown and data was gathered across a wide range of speeds, gross weights, center of gravity (CG), flap settings, altitudes and sea states. The A5 prototype demonstrated exceptional water stability and handling, easy takeoff and landing performance, as well as light control forces with responsive, yet docile flight characteristics.

"While there are areas to be further optimized, as with any flight test program, the A5, overall, performed as designed and is a blast to fly," reported Lead Aero Engineer and Test Pilot Jon Karkow.

A variety of the FAA and ASTM LSA certification requirements have already been verified, such as stall speeds and low-speed handling parameters. To enhance the flying experience, the A5 was designed to be flown with the side windows removed. The prototype was test flown with the windows out with no appreciable change in aircraft performance or cockpit comfort.

"The rigorous flight testing and careful development of A5 is progressing well," said Kirk Hawkins, founder and CEO of ICON Aircraft. "While the successful completion of the Phase I Flight Testing marks an important milestone in that program, there is still a tremendous amount of work yet to be done."

With initial testing completed and a baseline now established, the A5 will enter Phase II Flight Testing to refine and optimize the aerodynamics and handling qualities to deliver an aircraft that looks amazing and flies even better. Flight testing of the prototype is scheduled to continue throughout 2009.

The ICON A5 is a 2-seat, amphibious (land and water), sport plane that features a high-strength, light-weight carbon fiber airframe, intuitive automotive-style cockpit, complete airplane parachute system, and folding wings that allow the aircraft to trailered behind an SUV. The A5 has an estimated top speed of 120 mph and can fly 300 miles on either automobile gas or aviation gas at 17 mpg. The A5 was created through the combined efforts of top automobile designers from the likes of BMW, Porsche, and Nissan together with some of the world's best composite aircraft engineers from Burt Rutan's Scaled Composites, creators of aircraft like the Voyager, GlobalFlyer, and X Prize winning SpaceShipOne.

The estimated base price of the ICON A5 is $139,000 and orders are now being accepted at www.iconaircraft.com with a refundable $5,000 deposit. Deliveries are scheduled to begin in late 2010.

For more information, visit www.iconaircraft.com.

About Icon Aircraft:

ICON Aircraft is a consumer sport plane manufacturer founded by Kirk Hawkins and Steen Strand while at Stanford University shortly after the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) enacted regulation changes in 2004 that created the new sport flying category. Kirk is an engineer, former U.S. Air Force F-16 fighter pilot, and graduate of Stanford Business School. Steen, a former investment banker and Harvard graduate, holds a Masters in Engineering from Stanford in Product Design and is a serial entrepreneur. A privately funded company, ICON Aircraft's base of operations is in Southern California, which is a hotbed for automotive design and aerospace engineering.

About FAA Light Sport Aircraft & Sport Pilot Classifications:

In 2004, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) created a new classification of easy-to-fly and affordable two-person planes called Light Sport Aircraft that enable a new classification of Sport Pilots to fly in uncontrolled airspace during the daytime and in good weather. The Sport Pilot license focuses on the fundamentals of flying and requires a minimum of 20 hours of in-flight training, which is half the time and cost of a traditional private pilot's license. The Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) described the new rules as "the biggest change in aviation in 50 years."
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