The A5 Amphibious Sports Aircraft is the first light sports plane designed and manufactured by Icon Aircraft, a US-based consumer sports aircraft manufacturer. The company was founded by engineer and F-16 fighter pilot Kirk Hawkins, and product design engineer and serial entrepreneur Steen Strand.
The recreational aircraft/seaplane allows flight from land as well as water. It was unveiled in June 2008. The prototype took off for its maiden flight in July 2008 and the phase I testing was completed by January 2009. It was followed by high-performance water testing in May 2009. A series of other flight tests in air and on sea then occurred.
The plane was exhibited at the EAA AirVenture Oshkosh Air Show in Los Angeles, in July 2012. The light sport plane won 143 orders at the show.
Icon began production of the composite components in December 2012. The first production A5, built at Icon's facility in Tehachapi, California, was unveiled in July 2014. Two more prototypes will be built in order to test for FAA approval. Customer deliveries are expected to start in May 2015.
Variants of the A5 sport plane
The A5 is currently available in a single variant. The first 100 production aircraft will be limited editions with customisable painting and interiors.
Design and features of Icon's amphibious plane
"The A5 Amphibious Sports Aircraft is the first light sports plane designed and manufactured by Icon Aircraft, a US-based consumer sports aircraft manufacturer."
The A5 sport plane features a boat-hull design for amphibious operations. The plane won the 2010 red dot design award for its unique and attractive design. The plane is 22ft long and 7.1ft high, and has a wingspan of 34ft. It occupies less space when parked than conventional light aircraft, due to its foldable wings.
The air frame of the A5 is built of lightweight carbon fibre material with high strength. It can be optionally fitted with a parachute that lands the plane in case of emergency.
The A5 features Seawings platforms which provide lateral stability, as well as allowing pilots to stand during docking of the seaplane in water.
Icon Aircraft completed the spin-resistance testing of the A5, to the FAA Part 23 standards, in February 2012. Spin-resistance enhances the aircraft's safety by reducing the chances for loss of control. It is achieved by incorporating a cuffed wing design with airfoils across the wingspan. The A5 will be the only light aircraft in production to be certified with FAA Part 23 standard.
The recreational plane carries up to 60lb of baggage. Its integral headlights provide enough lighting for ground, sea or air cruising. A propeller guard is fitted for improved safety.
A5 landing gear
The A5 features a retractable landing gear that can be optionally excluded to convert the amphibious sport aircraft into a pure seaplane. It is suitable for taking off and landing on paved, grass, dirt and gravel surfaces.
Cockpit of the sport plane
The cockpit of the A5 sport plane is designed akin to that of a sports car. Icon signed a collaboration agreement with Lotus Engineering in January 2012, for the production design of the A5, especially the cockpit. The collaboration aims to achieve a final design with a lightweight product.
"Icon signed a collaboration agreement with Lotus Engineering in January 2012, for the production design of the A5, especially the cockpit."
The cockpit offers side-by-side seating for two in a contoured style with waterproof seats reclined to 25 degrees. The 46in of internal width allows comfortable seating for the riders. It features removable side windows to provide an open-air flying experience. The bubble-glass canopy wrapped around the cockpit offers high visibility, while the forward opening canopy allows easy access to the cockpit from water or ground.
The cockpit also features an MP3 music port, a VHF communication radio, and number of storage compartments.
Avionics and navigation
The sport aircraft is equipped with Garmin's aera 796 portable Global Positioning System (GPS). The GPS system is integrated at the top of the centre-stack of the aircraft. The Garmin aera 796 features a touch screen interface and a display system which offers clear views even in direct sunlight. It also offers 3D views of terrains, airport diagrams, weather information and sectional charts for Visual Flight Rules (VFR) compliant flight.
The cockpit avionics include an angle-of-attack indicator, altitude indicator, fuel level indicator, tachometer, and altimeter. The grouped controls facilitate easy operation of the plane.
Icon A5's engine specifications
The A5 is powered by Rotax 912 iS fuel-injected engine, a launch model from BRP-Powertrain. The four-stroke, four-cylinder engine was developed in collaboration with Icon Aircraft to allow seamless integration into the A5.
The engine delivers an output of 100hp. It can run on aviation fuel as well as automotive gasoline. The engine offers improved fuel efficiency over carburetted engines, due to its electronic fuel injection system. The time between overhaul of the engine is 2, 000 hours.