LOS ANGELES--(BUSINESS WIRE)--ICON Aircraft, a start-up Light Sport Aircraft manufacturer, publicly unveiled the ICON A5 consumer sport plane yesterday on the opening day of AirVenture 2008, the world's largest aviation event taking place in Oshkosh, Wis. The two-seat sport plane is amphibious with retractable landing gear that allows for takeoffs and landings on both land and water. The ICON A5 has already drawn significant interest due to its consumer-friendly design, highlighted by folding wings that allow the plane to be easily stored or towed on the road with a trailer.
"In the last 50 years, aviation has gotten away from what the early aviation pioneers loved about flying – the freedom, fun and adventure," said ICON Aircraft Founder and CEO Kirk Hawkins. "ICON is about bringing that sport and passion back to flying through a vehicle that delivers that experience in a way no other vehicle can."
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 with fuel efficiency up to 20 mpg. Besides folding wings, more unique features specific to the ICON A5 include an intuitive, sports car-like cockpit with an MP3 music port, and Seawings platform for easy access and docking on water.
"We need to bring new people of all ages into aviation with products that appeal to people today," said Tom Poberezny, president of the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA), the organizers of AirVenture. "ICON has done that with the A5."
The unveiling featured the full-scale test prototype that completed its first flight on July 9 under the direction of ICON's engineering team and flown by experienced test pilot Jon Karkow. The aircraft was built by former top engineers at Scaled Composites, a leading producer of specialty aircraft like the Voyager, GlobalFlyer, and X-PRIZE winning SpaceShipOne.
"AirVenture is the perfect place to publicly launch the ICON A5 sport plane," Hawkins added. "There are hundreds of thousands of enthusiasts here, so if you are going to launch a new consumer aircraft, this is the place to do it."
The ICON A5 is designed to be predictable and easy to fly with safety features such as a propeller guard, angle of attack indicator, and quick-deploying ICON Complete Airplane Parachute (ICAP) so consumers can fly with peace of mind.
The standard ICON A5 model is amphibious with retractable landing gear and 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 fully 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 engineer and former U.S. Air Force F-16 fighter pilot. Hawkins started the company during Stanford University Business School in 2005 after learning of the Federal Aviation Administration's major regulatory changes that created the Light Sport Aircraft market in 2004. A venture-backed, early stage company out of Silicon Valley, ICON Aircraft quickly moved its operations to 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 and Sport Pilot Classifications:
In 2004, the Federal Aviation Administration 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 described the new rules as "the biggest change in aviation in 50 years."
Copyright 2008 Business Wire All Rights Reserved