by Woody Minar
ICON Aircraft once again displayed its two-seat, light-sport aircraft (LSA), amphibian ICON A5, which just received a weight exemption from the FAA. The exemption increases the gross weight to accommodate safety features, such as a spin-resistant airframe. It also allows the A5’s takeoff weight to rise as high as 1,680 lbs, 250 lbs above the 1,430 lb. limit for amphibious LSAs. This required increasing the wing size and, consequently, the empennage, changes that put the aircraft’s weight over the LSA amphib limit, but make the aircraft safer, so that’s why the FAA went along with the exemption.
The ICON A5 is made from carbon fiber, has 20-ft wings that fold manually or at the touch of a button, and is designed to travel on a trailer, like a ski boat or a jet ski. The A5 is only 16 feet long.
The A5 can enter the water at a boat ramp and won’t require airport hangar space. It has a new fuel-injected 100 hp Rotax 912 iS engine, standard night lighting package, attitude indicator, and Garmin’s 796 GPS system. ICON also plans to equip the A5 with a BRS parachute recovery system.
The standard useful load of the ICON A5 is 430 lbs; an option increases it to 530 lbs. The aircraft holds 20 gallons of auto gas or avgas, and has a range of 300 nm at a maximum speed of 105 kts. Takeoff and landing distance is only 750 feet.
The company currently has more than 900 refundable deposits of $5,000 each. According to Amy Julian, ICON’s marketing coordinator, the estimated price is $189,000, but is understandably going up as options are added. Production has started and the first aircraft made with production tooling will be off the line in the spring of 2014, with customer deliveries expected in mid to late 2014. Look for an even more busy seaplane base on Lake Winnebago after that.