Unless you are living under a rock or you have failed to pay your internet provider for the last few years now, you may have heard of the Icon A5. This amphibious Light Sport Aircraft (LSA) is a game changer. No longer needing runways, you can simply take off from a grass field, lake, river or ocean.
The Icon A5 is classified as an LSA which means it can be legally flown with a Sport Pilot License which can be obtained in just a few weeks. Imagine how you too can live the Icon life. If you are not a pilot yet, you can literally be flying the A5 in as little as a few months’ time.
What is so great about this aircraft and what makes the Icon A5 so easy to fly? We will get into that next, but first – for everyone who loves the numbers – here are the technical specifications of this aircraft:
Icon A5 Specifications
Maximum Takeoff Weight: 1510 lbs. (686.4 kg)
Takeoff Distance: 640 feet
Landing Distance: 590 feet, 700 water
Fuel: 91 Octane Auto Gas or 100LL Aviation Gas
Maximum Speed (Vh): 95 KCAS (109 mph) (176 kph)
Range: 427nm (45 min reserve)
Engine: Rotax 912 (100 hp)
Interior Cockpit Width: 46 in (116.8 cm)
Maximum Takeoff Weight: 1,510 lbs.
Useful Load: 430-550 lbs.
Baggage Weight: 60 lbs.
Wingspan: 34.8 ft (10.61 m)
Aircraft Length: 23 ft (7.01 m)
Aircraft Height: 8.1 ft (2.47 m)
Now that we have all the specs out of the way, let’s jump into what makes the Icon A5 so unique.
Characteristics of the Icon A5
- Amphibious: Sporting sleek retractable landing gear, the A5 allows for landings and takeoffs from both land and water. With its unique landing gear, you can taxi from the ground and into the water prior to retracting the gear and cleaning up the aircraft for a water take off.
- Folding Wings: Simple to extend and takes only one person. This is useful for travel and storage.
- Trailerable: Folding wings mean you can legally trailer this aircraft on any road and highway. You can store your A5 in your garage and trailer it to the airfield instead of renting hangar space or paying tie-down fees.
- Visibility: Because the engine is mounted above and behind the cockpit, you get an amazing panoramic view from the cockpit.
- Windows: Windows are removable so you can experience flight like the days of old.
- Seawings: Platforms just outside below and outside the cockpit providing stability on the water. They also allow a platform to stand on for conducting service and maintenance.
Things that make this airplane safe
There is no doubt that this is a safe airplane. With years of research behind them, Icon designed the A5 with both safety and ease of flyability in mind. In addition to a solid design, Icon added some unique safety features that you won’t see on other aircraft.
Three of the unique safety features on the A5 are: The Angle of Attack Instrument, a game changing spin-resistant airframe construction – the first of its kind on an LSA, and the Icon Parachute System.
The Angle of Attack (AoA) Instrument
Unique to the A5 is the Angle of Attack Instrument. Positioned just on top of the instruments it’s in easy view for the pilot. The AoA tells you how close the wing is to stalling. This simple yet important piece of information allows for the pilot to make a quick reference and see where they are operating at within the airframe performance envelope.
Spin-Resistant Airframe (SRA)
Four key design elements make the Icon A5 a spin-resistant airframe. While other types of aircraft have previously been built to be spin resistant, the Icon A5 is the very first light sport aircraft to integrate these features.
- Wing Cuff: Located on the leading edge, it separates the wing into two distinct parts. These two parts have different air foils. The outer leading edge is drooped which allows it to remain in flight and continue generating lift after the inboard portion of the wing has stalled. This allows the airframe to have a progressive stall.
- Ailerons: Like the Wing Cuff, the ailerons are located on the outboard portion of the wing, thus allowing the pilot to have full roll control when near or at stall speed.
- Wing Flaps: SRA aircraft are made so that they resist entering into spins with both flaps up and a flaps down configuration. Like normal flaps, they provide increased lift and slower airspeeds which assist with water takeoffs.
- Planing Wingtips: If you look at the wings on the Icon A5, you’ll notice that they have flat surfaces on the bottom. This helps the wings skim along the surface of the water when it may be rough. The second reason for planing wingtips is to provide hydrostatic stability when not in motion.
Icon Parachute System (IPS)
The Icon A5 has its own proprietary parachute system called the Icon Parachute System (IPS) which is based off whole airplane recovery parachute systems.
Whole airplane recovery parachute systems (WARPS) are ballistic parachutes that can be deployed on damaged light aircraft.
The ballistic recovery system consists of a parachute that is ejected out of a tube mounted to the airframe. When the chute deploys, it slows the plane’s descent. This helps minimize damage to the aircraft and protects the pilot and passenger.
How do you get ready to reach for the skies in your very own Icon A5?
If you are not a pilot yet, the Icon company can set you up to earn your Sport Pilot Certificate. The requirements to obtain a Sport Pilot Certificate may vary with the type of aircraft you plan to fly.
According to the FAA, to obtain a Sport Pilot Certificate, an applicant must meet the following requirements:
- Be at least 17 years of age.
- Possess a currently valid Airman Medical Certificate or a state-issued driver's license.
- Be able to read, write, and speak the English language.
- Be able to prove U.S. citizenship or nationality, or else comply with TSA procedures for alien flight training eligibility.
- Compete the following flight training as a student pilot training under a Certified Flight Instructor (CFI) or Certified Flight Instructor - Light Sport (CFI-LS):
- A minimum of 20 hours flight time, that includes:
- Fifteen hours of dual flight instruction with an instructor.
- Five hours of solo flight time
- Two hours dual cross-country with a CFI
- One solo cross-country flight
- Three hours of test prep instruction
- Pass the FAA Sport Pilot Knowledge Test, also known as the written exam.
- Pass the FAA Sport Pilot Practical Test that consists of an oral and flight test.
If you already hold a private pilot license, Icon offers a transition course that will have you up and flying in no time.
The Icon A5 is a revolutionary light sport aircraft built with a focus on safety and ease of flyability. Its amphibious nature means you can take off and land on either water or land. Since the wings fold in, the A5 is trailerable and portable.
Unique features like the Angle of Attack Instrument, the spin-resistant air-frame and the Icon Parachute System set the Icon A5 apart from other light sport aircraft.
One more great thing about the Icon A5 is that you only need a Sport Pilot Certificate to fly it. It only takes a minimum of 20 hours of flight time to earn this certificate. That means you can go from drooling over an Icon A5 to being in the pilot’s seat in just a couple of months.