I’ve rarely promoted watching a YouTube video in a blog post. And this obviously isn’t the first SLSA (candidate) to make a first flight. But I’d repeat this many times if all first flights were as well documented as the first flight of the Icon A5 LSA seaplane. *** The L.A. company has shown unusual levels of professionalism and showmanship. So their creation of a quality video for a first flight comes as little surprise. *** Icon engineering team member Jon Karkow made the first flight on Wednesday, July 9th. Beside his engineering duties, Jon is an accomplished test pilot with a slate of first flights including the late Steve Fossett’s GlobalFlyer from Scaled Composites. *** “Everything went as well as an initial test flight possibly could go; so I was very pleased,” said Karkow. “The aircraft flew exceptionally well and met or exceeded our design expectations.
Icon Aircraft A5
Phone: (424) 201-3500Los Angeles, CA 90066 - USA
Most aviation participants have been wringing their hands over the declining pilot population. FAA’s database of active pilots has dropped from 825,000 when I began flying to less than 600,000 today…all while the U.S. population has grown by 50 million. We are clearly doing something wrong, and have for too long had a too-inward focus. *** We have some worthy efforts of outreach. EAA has their fine Young Eagles program. AOPA has its Project Pilot. Companies like Cirrus rove from show to event with their mobile display. Yet we need to do much more. *** L.A.-based Icon Aircraft is one such company that is doing so, recently introducing their new Icon A5 LSA. While the company is presently focused on providing a fascinating new aircraft, they’re looking beyond the existing pilot market. According to their CEO Kirk Hawkins, “Icon’s mission is to bring the freedom, fun, and adventure of flying to the thousands of others who have always dreamed of it.
Despite an economic slowdown shared by all of aviation, the LSA industry is rich with entrepreneurs. Innovative new designs hit the market regularly. Consider this: In just over three years, the industry has certified an astounding 81 aircraft designs and several more are on the horizon. One hundred certified LSA might be available by 2009, in less than four years since the category was created by FAA. No one remembers anything close in FAA history. *** All Light-Sport Aircraft presently total about 1% of the U.S. piston engine fleet including all FAA registrations of all aircraft types and models. Yet three LSA years compare to 80+ Cessna years, so the new segment remains in its infancy. Consequently, the LSA industry may be acting precisely as needed — focusing on innovation and diversity as proven by the number of new models meeting ASTM standards. Big sales will follow, many experts believe.
One glance at almost any view of the Icon A5 will tell you this isn’t like any Light-Sport Aircraft you’ve ever seen. Oh, the Nexaer was shapely and showed innovative thinking. And certainly, we have many fine LSA on the market. Yet nothing I’ve seen compares to the Wow! factor that comes when your eyes feast on A5. *** In a grand ceremony attended by 550 invited persons at company headquarters near LAX airport, Icon finally pulled the concealing drapery off their new LSA. Unless you’re a contractor assisting Icon, you’ve probably never heard about the project, a tightly-guarded secret. *** This idea was given birth at Stanford University by F-16 fighter jock, Kirk Hawkins. He’s enlisted as impressive a team as I’ve seen since Cirrus burst on the market exactly 10 years ago. For example, Icon’s engineering staff is composed of the top people from Burt Rutan’s Scaled Composites.