ICON Aircraft

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
ICON Aircraft, Inc.
FoundersKirk Hawkins
Steen Strand
HeadquartersVacaville, California, USA
Key people
Kirk Hawkins (CEO from 2006–2018)
Thomas Wieners (President and COO)
Rich Bridge (Vice President of Finance)
Mike Farley (Vice President of Global Sales)[2]
ProductsLight-sport aircraft
Number of employees

ICON Aircraft, Inc. is a privately held aircraft manufacturing company headquartered in Vacaville, California, United States.[3] It is currently working on production of the ICON A5, an amphibious light sport aircraft.[4][5][6]


ICON Aircraft was founded in response to the 2004 Federal Aviation Administration establishment of the light-sport aircraft (LSA) class of aircraft and Sport Pilot certificate class of pilot.[7][8][9] Kirk Hawkins and Steen Strand founded the company in 2006.[1] Hawkins had previously flown F-16s[8] in the United States Air Force and Boeing 757s for American Airlines. Strand's background is in product design, marketing, and finance, and he founded Freebord, a skateboard company.[10] The two met at Stanford University in a Product Design class in 1993.[11]

A proof of concept aircraft was built in 2007-2008, and made its first flight in July 2008.[8] The company publicly launched the A5 in Los Angeles at a private event on June 11, 2008.[12] ICON has also acknowledged the possibility of releasing additional models in the future, but maintains that it will focus on the light-sport aircraft market.[13]

From 2008 to 2014, the proof of concept aircraft flew more than 700 development flights, and the construction of the first production aircraft began in early 2014.[14] It made its first flight in July 2014 and the company announced that the first customer deliveries were expected in May 2015.[5]

ICON Aircraft has completed four rounds of equity financing. It completed its A round in June 2006 and its B round in July 2008. A $25 million C round was closed in June 2011[5] and a $60 million D round was announced in June 2013.[15]

In May 2016 the company announced that only 20 aircraft would be completed in 2016, instead of the previously planned 175 and that all these would go to training centers. Customer deliveries were announced as being delayed until 2017 at the earliest, due to the need to improve the manufacturing processes to build the aircraft design. The company also announced that, as a result of issues involving starting production, it would lay off 60 employees and terminate 90 contractors, leaving 160 employees at work. The CEO indicated that the company has the investors and funding required to continue operations through this period, before production is increased and the company can become profitable.[16][17]

In May 2017, a factory-owned ICON A5 crashed on the shore of Lake Berryessa in Napa County, California, near the company's training facility. Killed in the accident were two Icon employees: lead engineer and chief company test pilot Jon Karkow, who was the pilot in command; and Cagri Sever, Icon's director of engineering, who was a passenger on the flight. Karkow had been involved in the design of the A5's folding wings as well as parts of the aircraft's control systems.[18][19][20][21] The National Transportation Safety Board determined that the cause was "the pilot's failure to maintain clearance from terrain while maneuvering at a low altitude." The board found no fault with the aircraft.[22]

Hawkins resigned as CEO in November 2018. He will stay on at the company in an undefined role and President and COO Thomas Wiener will head the company on an interim basis.[23]


ICON Aircraft's first model is the ICON A5, an amphibious two-seat, light-sport aircraft to be priced at approximately $189,000. Its folding wings facilitate transportation and storage,[9] and it will have a range of approximately 300 nautical miles (560 km) and a top speed of 105 knots (120 mph).[24]

The company has assigned nearly 1400 production positions as of August 2014[25] and anticipates the first customer delivery will occur in May 2015.

On July 28, 2014, ICON Aircraft unveiled the first production ICON A5 built with production tooling and using production methods and components. This aircraft successfully completed its first flight July 7, 2014.[26]

In April 2016 the ICON A5 purchaser's agreement was made public and was noted by the aviation media as containing many controversial elements not usually found in aircraft purchase agreements. These include contractually-required pilot training, maintenance, agreements not to sue, and a camera and recorder to monitor pilot behavior, that is owned by the manufacturer but must be maintained by the owner. Owners also must agree to be "supportive" of the company. In the case of a resale, future owners are required to sign the same agreement or face penalties. There are indications that a number of A5 position holders have canceled their purchases based on the wording of the agreement.[27][28]

In May 2016 the company admitted that the released contract had been a mistake. Company CEO, Kirk Hawkins, stated, "it should not have gone out in the form it went out without an explanation. [Customers] had a right to be taken aback." The company issued a revised contract that removed many, but not all of the controversial elements.[16][29]


ICON Aircraft's headquarters are located in Vacaville, California where all manufacturing, engineering, design, training, sales, and service functions are consolidated.[30] It also has an office in Los Angeles, California where the company was founded. ICON formerly operated an engineering and manufacturing facility in Tehachapi, California where the A5 was initially developed and tested.[31]

On August 6, 2012, it was announced that Cirrus Aircraft would become one of the key strategic supplier partners for the ICON A5 amphibious light sport aircraft. The companies agreed that Cirrus, the manufacturer of the leading SR20 and SR22 lines of high-performance single-engine aircraft, will produce a significant portion of the composite airframe components for ICON Aircraft in their Grand Forks, North Dakota, facility.[32]

In September 2016 the company announced that production of the composite parts would be undertaken at a facility in Mexico.[33][34]

Directors and advisors[edit]




  1. ^ a b Maas, John (June 2009). "Just Plane Fun". Stanford University Alumni Association. Retrieved 17 April 2015.
  2. ^ https://www.iconaircraft.com/company
  3. ^ "Guest Speaker: Bringing The "Sport" Back To Flying (Kirk Hawkins)". Plane & Pilot Magazine. Retrieved 2009-07-19.
  4. ^ Pasztor, Andy (2008-06-12). "Start-Up Wants A New Audience To Take to the Air". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2009-07-19.
  5. ^ a b c Haines, Thomas B. (28 July 2014). "First production Icon A5 makes a splash at AirVenture". Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association. Retrieved 29 January 2015.
  6. ^ "FAA Audit clears Icon A5 for Production". Australian Flying.com. Yaffa Publishing Group. Retrieved 19 June 2015.
  7. ^ "The Ultimate Flying Machine: Sexy as a Sports Car, Portable as a Jet Ski". Wired. 22 December 2008.
  8. ^ a b c Pae, Peter (28 July 2008). "Built for just plane fun". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 29 January 2015.
  9. ^ a b Pappalardo, Joe (11 June 2008). "ICON A5 Folding Plane Looks Like Sportscar, Costs as Much as Maserati". Popular Mechanics. Retrieved 29 January 2015.
  10. ^ "Steen's new project – Icon Aircraft". Freebord. 17 July 2008. Retrieved 29 January 2015.
  11. ^ "Being ICONic". EAA Sport Aviation Magazine. Retrieved 2011-11-10.
  12. ^ "ICON Aircraft Launches New Amphibious Sport Plane". Aero News Network. Retrieved 2011-11-08.
  13. ^ "ICON Aircraft: The Company". ICON Aircraft. Retrieved 29 January 2015.
  14. ^ "ICON Aircraft Constructs and Flies First Production A5" (PDF). ICON Aircraft. 28 July 2014. Retrieved 29 January 2015.
  15. ^ Moore, Jim (20 June 2013). "Icon raises $60 million to produce A5". Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association. Retrieved 29 January 2015.
  16. ^ a b Niles, Russ (May 25, 2016). "Icon Delays Deliveries, Amends Purchase Agreement". AVweb. Retrieved May 28, 2016.
  17. ^ Pope, Stephen (May 26, 2016). "What's Next for Icon?". Flying Magazine. Retrieved June 9, 2016.
  18. ^ Hirschman, Dave (May 9, 2017). "Icon's lead test pilot killed in A5 accident". Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association. Retrieved May 9, 2017.
  19. ^ Grady, Mary (May 8, 2017). "Two Killed In Icon A5 Crash". AVweb. Retrieved May 9, 2017.
  20. ^ Adams, Eric (May 9, 2017). "Icon A5 Crash Kills 2, Including the Unique Plane's Lead Engineer". Wired. Retrieved May 10, 2017.
  21. ^ Bergqvist, Pia (May 17, 2017). "NTSB Releases Preliminary Icon Accident Report". Flying. Retrieved May 18, 2017.
  22. ^ Grady, Mary (August 9, 2017). "NTSB Completes Icon Investigation". AVweb. Retrieved August 11, 2017.
  23. ^ Niles, Russ (8 November 2018). "Hawkins Out As Icon CEO". AVweb. Retrieved 9 November 2018.
  24. ^ Hirschman, Dave (August 2009). "Starting a Revolution" (PDF). AOPA Pilot. Retrieved 29 January 2015.
  25. ^ "TenCate supplies composites to ICON Aircraft A5 Amphibious Sport Aircraft". TenCate. 16 September 2014. Retrieved 29 January 2015.
  26. ^ "ICON Constructs and Flies First Production A5". ICON Aircraft. 28 July 2014. Retrieved 29 January 2015.
  27. ^ AVweb Staff. "Icon's Buyer Contract Restricts Liability". AVweb. Retrieved April 4, 2016.
  28. ^ Bertorelli, Paul. "Icon: A Dark View Of The Customer Relationship". AVweb. Retrieved April 4, 2016.
  29. ^ Bertorelli, Paul (26 May 2016). "Icon Production Delays: The Inevitable Explained". AVweb. Retrieved 28 May 2016.
  30. ^ "ICON to relocate to Vacaville". General Aviation News. 14 May 2014. Retrieved 15 May 2014.
  31. ^ "Backstage With A Rock Star". Plane & Pilot. Retrieved 2009-11-17.
  32. ^ "Cirrus Aircraft News - ICON Aircraft and Cirrus Aircraft to Partner on the Production of the ICON A5 Amphibious Sport Plane". Cirrusaircraft.com. 2012-08-06. Retrieved 2014-05-16.
  33. ^ Pope, Steven (7 September 2016). "Icon Moving Composite Production Work to Mexico". Flying Magazine. Retrieved 10 May 2017.
  34. ^ Rapoport, Geoff (17 March 2017). "Icon A5 Inches Toward Serial Production". AVweb. Retrieved 9 May 2017.

External links[edit]