Icon Aircraft Successfully Completes Water Test for A5
Icon Aircraft - Los Angeles, CA
"The A5 is a pure sport seaplane, engineered to handle aggressive maneuvering on the water while at the same time making the pilot's experience both very safe and extremely exciting," said Kirk Hawkins, CEO and Founder. "To ensure that the performance of the hull exceeded our expectations, ICON's engineering team worked side by side with some of the world's top marine architects to create what we feel is one of the most sophisticated seaplane hulls ever designed."
The hull's forebody design achieves effortless "on-step" acceleration with little to no deck-angle change throughout transition from displacement to plowing to planing modes. Tests have shown that there is minimal porpoising tendency and the A5 will smoothly and quickly accelerate onto the step to takeoff speed in a stick-free condition, requiring little to no pilot input until rotation speed. In addition, the forebody's higher deadrise allows this smaller amphibian plane to handle relatively rough water on takeoff and landing.
The unique Seawings(TM) on each side of the fuselage provide outstanding stability both hydrostatically and hydrodynamically as well as convenient platforms for users to move in and around the aircraft while on land or in the water. The Seawings(TM) also function like the swim platform on the back of a ski boat facilitating easy docking as well as easy access in and out of the water. During planing step-turns, the Seawings(TM) allow the aircraft to bank significantly more than with the outrigger-type sponson floats seen on typical hull-type seaplanes. The Seawings(TM) permit the A5 to make tighter coordinated turns on the water while stabilizing the aircraft to keep the wingtips from touching throughout the normal maneuvering envelope.
The A5 also has specially designed planing wingtips that provide additional hydrostatic stability in extreme crosswind conditions while also acting as effective hydrodynamic planing surfaces should a wingtip contact the water in extreme or inadvertent conditions. During one of these advanced test profiles, the safety and effectiveness of ICON's planing wingtips were demonstrated when the A5 was actually flown with the wingtip still skimming the surface of the water. (See attached photo. Note: This maneuver is performed by a professional test pilot for testing purposes only and is not an action that ICON encourages any pilot to attempt due to its potential danger.)
As testing for the A5 continues, there are a number of areas still being meticulously refined and optimized including gear installation, aerodynamic enhancement, hull drag reduction, water-rudder improvements, and spray-pattern optimization. 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 sports car-like cockpit, complete airplane parachute system, and folding wings that allow the aircraft to be 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 Light Sport Aircraft (LSA), a new classification of easy-to-fly and affordable two-person planes, and a new Sport Pilot License (SPL) developed specifically for this category allowing pilots to fly during the daytime, in good weather and away from controlled airspace. 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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