News | July 23, 2008

ICON Aircraft Successfully Flies ICON A5 Sport Plane Prototype

Los Angeles--(BUSINESS WIRE)--ICON Aircraft, a new light-sport aircraft manufacturer, achieved an important milestone with a successful maiden test flight of the ICON A5 amphibious (land and sea capable) sport plane. ICON's team of engineers completed the full-scale prototype flight on Wednesday, July 9 at an undisclosed lake location in California.

Video link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Px_UjBJiFd8

ICON Lead Aero Engineer and Test Pilot Jon Karkow conducted the test flight, which demonstrated the aircraft's performance and flying characteristics during take-off, landing, and low-speed maneuvering flight. In addition, the aircraft's performance during water operations was evaluated. Karkow is an accomplished test pilot who has flown first flights for many notable aircraft including the world-record setting Virgin Atlantic GlobalFlyer flown by the late Steve Fossett.

"Everything went as well as an initial test flight possibly could go; so I was very pleased," said Karkow, a member of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots. "The aircraft flew exceptionally well and met or exceeded our design expectations. The A5 seems to be a great aircraft right out of the box."

The full-scale prototype aircraft is scheduled to undergo several phases of test flights over the next year before the design is finalized. After flight testing, a pre-production model will be built to verify all the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and ASTM compliance standards before entering production in late 2010.

"I'm proud of what this team has accomplished," said ICON VP of Engineering Matthew Gionta, who served as Mission Director of the flight. "I've been in the business of designing and building aircraft my entire career and I've never worked with a more talented team. When you get bright people pulling hard toward a common goal, then really incredible things start to happen. The ICON A5 is an example of this. It's really an amazing aircraft."

The ICON A5 two-seat sport plane features an amphibious design with retractable landing gear for flying off land and water, plus several patent-pending technologies highlighted by folding wings that allow the plane to be easily stored and towed on the road with a trailer.

Designed to be predictable and easy-to-fly, the ICON A5 features a high-strength, lightweight carbon fiber airframe and is powered by a reliable, 100-hp Rotax 912 ULS engine that runs on both auto and aviation gasoline at an estimated top speed of 120 mph. Besides the folding wings, more unique features specific to the ICON A5 include an intuitive, sports car-like cockpit with MP3 port, and patent-pending Seawing platform for easy access and docking on water.

The standard ICON A5 model is amphibious with retractable landing gear and manual folding wings. The estimated price of the ICON A5 standard model is $139,000 and orders are now being accepted at www.iconaircraft.com with a refundable $5,000 deposit. Aircraft production and initial deliveries are scheduled to begin in late 2010.

ABOUT ICON AIRCRAFT:

ICON Aircraft is a consumer sport plane manufacturer founded by Kirk Hawkins, an accomplished engineer and former U.S. Air Force F-16 fighter pilot. Hawkins conceived the company during Stanford University Business School in 2005 after learning of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) major regulatory changes that created the Light-Sport Aircraft market and Sport Pilot license in 2004. A venture-backed, early stage company out of Silicon Valley, ICON Aircraft quickly based its operations in Southern California, which is a hotbed for aerospace engineering, automotive design, and powersports activities. More Information: http://www.iconaircraft.com

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. 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."

Press Photos link: http://www.sportssystems.com/hosting/display.cfm?key=100924

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