(Tina Sjogren) When FAA created the new Light Sport Aircraft category in 2004, a new market was open for recreational flying. Drawing inspiration from boating and sports cars and with a mission "to bring the fun and adventure back to flying," LA based ICON Aircaft planned to roll out their sport plane full scale by late 2012.
Supported by an initial 25 million investment from top Silicon Valley venture capitalists and deposits for hundreds of planes, the prototype aircraft made its first flight but then things slowed. ICON lost one of its earliest members in a motorcycle crash and years passed by.
The first production ICON A5 was flown for the first time July last year. The plane is now entering serial production, using production tooling, methods, and components. Sunday morning ICON delivered the first customer A5 to EAA Young Eagles.
The plane, Aircraft Serial Number 1 (ASN-001), reportedly played a major role in last month's FAA audit and was the first A5 to receive an S-LSA airworthiness certificate.
The ICON team poured their hearts and souls into this aircraft, they point out, and aviation media is reportedly impressed: "AOPA Pilot Editor at Large Dave Hirschman said the following after his first flight: 'This airplane more than lives up to its high expectations. It's extremely graceful on the water and in the air, offers exceptional control harmony and visibility, is a joy to fly—and would not stall and spin no matter how much I provoked it'."
In celebration of its first delivery, states a company press release, ICON is reducing the deposit for an A5 production position from $5,000 to $2,000 for one week (ending 26 July 2015).
The new Sport Pilot License restricts flying to daytime, good weather, and in uncongested airspace. As a result, new pilots can be safely trained in a matter of weeks, versus months at a $3,000-$5,000 costs. You can achieve a first solo licence in only a few days. As all hours logged sport flying can be applied toward Private Pilot License, SPL is great for beginner pilots. An ICON complete training course for beginner pilots takes around 2 weeks (30 flight hours). Another week or so qualifies you for transitional and seaplane flights.
The LA based ICON manufacturing facility integrates all company functions in one place, including both land and water-based flight training of ICON customers at nearby Lake Berryessa.
Price for A5, ICON's first line of sport planes, is $189,000 USD (standard equipment) plus CPI increase. Delivery in 2018.
ICON update: last phase test in October
ICON raises 25 million, let production begin!