A5 by ICON Aircraft | SENATUS



A5 by ICON Aircraft

Since the FAA’s dramatic regulation changes in 2004 created the new Light Sport Aircraft category, ICON Aircraft’s sole purpose has been to bring the freedom, fun, and adventure of flying to all who have dreamed of flight. With these ground-breaking FAA rules solidified, ICON believes that consumer-focused sport aircraft can do for recreational flying what personal watercraft did for boating.

ICON’s sport aircraft are not only designed to deliver an amazing and safe flying experience, but also to inspire us the way great sports cars do. After years of development with some of the world’s best aerospace engineers and industrial designers, ICON Aircraft has released the first of its line of sport planes, the ICON A5. The A5 is a bold yet elegant design that communicates beauty, performance, safety, and most importantly… fun.

ICON was founded in 2005 by Kirk Hawkins. Hawkins, a graduate from the Stanford Business School, is an accomplished engineer, former U.S. Air Force F-16 pilot, and long-time motorsport enthusiast. With its world-class team of engineers, designers, advisors, and investors, ICON is located in Southern California - home of the world’s largest concentration of both aerospace and automobile design resources. ICON’s engineering and development team came from Burt Rutan’s famed Scaled Composites, which created such record setting projects as Voyager, Global Flyer, the X-Prize winning SpaceShipOne, and Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo.

January 26, 2009 - ICON Aircraft announced today the completion of Phase I flight testing of the ICON A5 Light Sport Aircraft.
"Phase I testing was completed over the course of 27 flights covering the full performance envelope of the prototype," said Matthew Gionta, ICON's Chief Technical Officer and Vice President of Engineering. "This test phase included assessing a wide range of speed, weight, center of gravity, altitude, and sea state. There are areas still to be optimized, as always, but overall the A5 has performed as designed."

The prototype was flown from minimum weight to gross weight in various sea states from glassy water to 9 inch waves. It was tested across all flap settings and up to density altitude of 5000 feet. All flights originated and terminated on water to verify the hydrodynamic performance and handling qualities. Test pilot Jon Karkow commented that the A5 "cuts through waves very well and is not prone to 'porpoising' like so many seaplanes are." With the hull shape verified, the landing gear will now be integrated into the prototype during Phase II of the testing.

Some of the ASTM standard design points have already been verified in flight such as the minimum stall speed requirement of 45 knots. Early measurements have verified that the prototype significantly exceeds the low-speed handling performance requirements.

The ICON A5 has removable side windows to immerse both pilot and passenger in the experience of flying a sport aircraft. This configuration has been tested and no adverse handling was experienced. In fact, test pilot Karkow noted no additional cabin noise and only a slight breeze in the cockpit.

The A5 prototype is powered by a Rotax 912 ULS engine. "It seems rather bulletproof," said Gionta. "We've been running it exclusively on 91 octane automotive fuel and it's been a great performer. Average fuel consumption has been about 5 gallons per hour."

"The second phase of flight test will begin immediately," said Gionta. "The purpose of Phase II testing is to refine the aerodynamics and handling qualities until they exceed our goals." During this phase the ICON engineering team will design and test aerodynamic refinements to improve the plane's efficiency. Flight testing of the prototype is scheduled to continue throughout 2009.


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