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Icon A5 in the water.jpg
Prototype in 2010
Role amphibious light-sport aircraft
National origin United States
Manufacturer ICON Aircraft
First flight July 15, 2008[1]
Status In production, 1,500 customer orders pending[2]
Number built 2
Unit cost
estimated US$247,000[3]

The ICON A5 is an American amphibious light-sport aircraft being developed by ICON Aircraft.[4] A concept aircraft was first flown in 2008, and creation of the production tooling began in December 2012. The first production aircraft made its first flight on July 7, 2014, and made its public debut at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh on July 27, 2014.


Cockpit layout designed to resemble an automobile dashboard

The A5 is a high-wing flying boat-type amphibious monoplane with a carbon fiber airframe and retractable undercarriage. It seats two people in an enclosed 46-inch-wide (116.8 cm) cockpit[5] and is powered by a single 100 hp (75 kW) Rotax 912 iS engine driving a three-bladed pusher propeller. Dornier-style sponsons provide hydrodynamic stability, housing the retracted main landing gear, and act as a step for crew and passenger. The wings can be folded aft for ground transport and storage.[6] Equipment includes an angle of attack indicator, an unusual feature in general aviation aircraft. A whole-airframe Ballistic Recovery Systems parachute is optional, except for in U.S.-registered A5s where it is mandatory, due to ICON's exemption to the U.S. LSA weight limit.[7] The A5 uses many different design elements to provide a manageable stall recovery.[8][9][10][11]


ICON A5 with its wings folded for transport

ICON Aircraft positions the A5 with a recreational focus, stating that the aircraft competes with powersports vehicles such as ATVs, motorcycles, watercraft, and snowmobiles, rather than other airplanes. ICON CEO Kirk Hawkins said "it's not about the usual metrics of speed, range, payload, altitude, and complex cockpits. It's about getting you out there and interacting with your world."[12] ICON's media debut in Wired and coverage in mainstream media shows significant interest from outside the aviation community,[13] and ICON has reported that 35% of its customers are not pilots.[14]

A prototype was constructed from 2007 to 2008, and made its first flight in July 2008. In January 2009, the company announced completion of the first phase (27 flights) of a three-phase testing program, including water handling. In February 2009, the prototype entered the second phase of testing to refine aerodynamic and handling qualities.[15] In 2011, an updated "spin-resistant" wing was flight tested, and finished in February 2012. The design meets FAR Part 23 type certified requirements by employing a cuffed wing with multiple proprietary airfoils which change along the wing's span.[16][17][18] Lotus Engineering replaced Designworks the same year to develop an "automotive style" aircraft interior and assist with development of lightweight component manufacturing.[19]

In July 2012, the company applied for a Federal Aviation Administration LSA rule exemption to raise the weight of the A5 above the maximum weight for amphibian LSAs, citing that the required structure to make the aircraft spin resistant necessitated a gross weight of 1,680 lb (762 kg). In May 2013 the FAA requested more details on the procedures used by Icon to test the spin resistance of the aircraft at the higher weight. The FAA also requested a signed statement from the company indicating that the aircraft meets the spin resistance criteria specified for light aircraft type certification in FAR 23.221 (a)(2). In July 2013 the FAA granted the weight increase.[20][21][22][23]

Production delivery dates have been adjusted from initial estimates. In June 2011, the company announced that it had procured an additional US$25 million investment, which was "needed to allow the company to complete engineering development work and enter production - possibly as early as next year [2012]."[24] By August 2011, the company stated that it had sold positions for 694 A5s, up from 400 initially sold at AirVenture 2009.[25] A promotion in conjunction with EAA Young Eagles raised more than US$28,000 for the youth flight program.[26][27]

On August 6, 2012, Icon announced that Cirrus Aircraft would produce composite airframe components for the A5 at its Grand Forks, North Dakota facility. The airframe parts will be shipped to Icon's Tehachapi, California plant for final assembly. In August 2012 the first production aircraft was anticipated for delivery in mid-2013 against 850 customer orders that the company says it was holding at that point.[28]

In December 2012, production of the tooling master molds began, with horizontal tail fin masters being delivered to Cirrus Aircraft that month. Wing skin masters were delivered in February 2013.[29]

On June 20, 2013, the company announced that it had organized production funding of over US$60 million, with final funds being provided by a Chinese investor.[22]

By July 30, 2013, the estimated production price had risen to US$189,000 (from the company's initial estimated price established in 2008 of US$139,000)[7][23][30] and further raised to US$247,000 in 2015.[3]

On October 2, 2013, the construction of production tooling was announced, which "will lead up to the assembly of the first pre-production aircraft to be completed in mid-2014."[31]

On July 27, 2014, the first production A5 was unveiled at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh. This aircraft was constructed between January and June 2014 at company headquarters in Tehachapi, California, and first flew on July 7. Icon stated that two additional aircraft would be constructed to "verify performance and complete FAA approval". The company at that time planned to begin customer deliveries in May 2015.[32][33]

The first customer aircraft was flown in May 2015, but deliveries could not commence until the company underwent an FAA audit, which was completed on June 11, 2015.[34][35]

In June 2015 the company indicated that they had 1,250 orders for the A5 and plans to build 500 per year by 2017[35] at its new location in Vacaville, California.[3]

On July 20, 2015, Icon delivered the first production A5 as a donation to youth group Young Eagles.[36]


In the 2009 IDEA/BusinessWeek Design Awards, ICON was awarded Gold in the Transportation Design category. The competition included all cars, motorcycles, watercraft, and every other motor vehicle designed in 2008.[37] ICON was also awarded a 2009 Gold Spark Design Award and a Design Distinction in ID Magazine's Annual Design Review.[38][39][40]

  • 2008 Popular Science 100 Best Innovations of the Year[41]
  • 2009 I.D. Annual Design Review[40]
  • 2009 IDSA International Design Excellence Award Gold - Transportation[42]
  • 2009 IDSA International Design Excellence Award People's Choice Award[43]
  • 2009 Gold Spark Design Award[38]
  • 2010 Wallpaper* "Life-enhancer of the Year" Judges Award[44]
  • 2010 Red Dot Product Design Winner[45]

Notable appearances in media[edit]

Specifications (estimated)[edit]

Data from ICON Aircraft[7]

General characteristics

  • Crew: one
  • Capacity: one passenger
  • Length: 23 ft (7.0 m)
  • Wingspan: 34 ft (10 m)
  • Height: 7.1 ft (2.2 m)
  • Empty weight: 1,080 lb (490 kg)
  • Gross weight: 1,510 lb (685 kg)
  • Fuel capacity: 20 US gal (76 l)[11]
  • Powerplant: 1 × Rotax 912 iS fuel-injected, air and liquid cooled four cylinder aircraft engine, 100 hp (75 kW)
  • Propellers: 3-bladed composite


  • Maximum speed: 105 kn (121 mph; 194 km/h)
  • Range: 300 nmi (345 mi; 556 km)
  • Maximum glide ratio: 9:1[46]


See also[edit]

Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era
Related lists


  1. ^ "ICON A5 Prototype Flies". ICON Aircraft. July 15, 2008. Archived from the original on July 15, 2008. 
  2. ^ "Buy A5". ICON Aircraft. Retrieved October 2, 2015. 
  3. ^ a b c Bergqvist, Pia (June 18, 2015). "Icon A5 First Delivery Slated for AirVenture 2015". AVweb. Retrieved June 23, 2015. 
  4. ^ Hoffman, Carl (December 22, 2008). "The Ultimate Flying Machine: Sexy as a Sports Car, Portable as a Jet Ski". Wired. Retrieved March 9, 2012. 
  5. ^ Zolfagharifard, Ellie (September 18, 2015). "The 'Tesla of planes' has arrived". Daily Mail. Retrieved September 30, 2015. 
  6. ^ Twombly, Mark (September 2008). "Making a Splash". Water Flying. p. 17. Retrieved November 28, 2010. 
  7. ^ a b c "Specifications". ICON Aircraft. Retrieved July 30, 2013. 
  8. ^ Hanley, Steve (September 26, 2015). "Icon A5 Is The Tesla Of Airplanes". Gas 2. Retrieved September 30, 2015. 
  9. ^ Hirschman, Dave (June 18, 2015). "Icon's A5 is for real". AOPA. Retrieved September 30, 2015. 
  10. ^ Lee, Marc C. (June 18, 2015). "The Icon A5 Has Entered The Building". Plane & Pilot. Retrieved September 30, 2015. 
  11. ^ a b Moynihan, Tim (September 28, 2015). "What It's Like to Fly—And Stall—In the Icon A5 Plane". Wired. Retrieved September 30, 2015. 
  12. ^ "Being ICONic". EAA Sport Aviation. April 2010. p. 32. Retrieved November 10, 2011. 
  13. ^ Pappalardo, Joe (June 11, 2008). "ICON A5 Folding Plane Looks Like Sportscar, Costs as Much as Maserati". Popular Mechanics. Retrieved January 29, 2015. 
  14. ^ Hirschman, Dave (August 1, 2009). "Starting a Revolution". AOPA Pilot. Retrieved January 29, 2015. 
  15. ^ Warwick, Graham (February 16, 2009). "Icon Flies A5 Light-Sport Amphibian". Aviation Week. p. 12. Retrieved November 28, 2010. 
  16. ^ "ICON Tests New Spin Resistant Wing on A5 Amphibian". EAA. August 4, 2011. Retrieved March 9, 2012. 
  17. ^ Paur, Jason (February 16, 2012). "Icon Aircraft Receives First-Ever Spin-Resistance Seal of Approval". Wired. Retrieved March 9, 2012. 
  18. ^ Grady, Mary (February 17, 2012). "Icon A5 Meets Elusive Spin-Resistant Standard". AVweb. Retrieved March 9, 2012. 
  19. ^ Pope, Stephen (June 14, 2012). "Icon Aircraft Teams with Carmaker Lotus on A5 Interior". Flying. Retrieved June 26, 2012. 
  20. ^ Niles, Russ (July 18, 2012). "ICON Looking For Weight Exemption For A5". AVweb. Retrieved July 19, 2012. 
  21. ^ Niles, Russ (May 5, 2013). "FAA Wants More Information On Icon Weight Exemption". AVweb. Retrieved May 6, 2013. 
  22. ^ a b Pew, Glenn (June 21, 2013). "ICON Announces Production Funding". AVweb. Retrieved June 24, 2013. 
  23. ^ a b Niles, Russ (July 29, 2013). "FAA Grants Icon Weight Exemption". AVweb. Retrieved July 30, 2013. 
  24. ^ Pope, Stephen (June 29, 2011). "ICON Aircraft Receives $25 Million Cash Infusion". Flying. Retrieved March 9, 2012. 
  25. ^ Bayerl, Robby; Berkemeier, Martin (2011). World Directory of Leisure Aviation 2011/2012. Lancaster, UK: WDLA UK. p. 59. ISSN 1368-485X. 
  26. ^ "ICON Aircraft Receives Record 143 Orders At Oshkosh". Aero News Network. August 12, 2011. Retrieved November 15, 2011. 
  27. ^ Bergqvist, Pia (July 28, 2011). "Icon Sees Success at AirVenture". Flying. Retrieved November 16, 2011. 
  28. ^ Grady, Mary (August 6, 2012). "Cirrus Will Build Icon Components". AVWeb. Retrieved August 7, 2012. 
  29. ^ "Production Update, Winter 2013". ICONaircraft.com. February 20, 2013. Archived from the original on April 23, 2013. 
  30. ^ "Specifications and Features". Icon Aircraft. Archived from the original on July 1, 2008. 
  31. ^ "Production Update, 2 October 2013". Icon Aircraft. 
  32. ^ Szondy, David (July 30, 2014). "First production ICON A5 amphibian plane unveiled". Gizmag.com. Retrieved August 5, 2014. 
  33. ^ Pope, Stephen (July 29, 2014). "First Production-Ready Icon A5 Impresses". Flying. Retrieved August 5, 2014. 
  34. ^ Niles, Russ. "ICON Flies First Customer Aircraft". AVweb. Retrieved May 18, 2015. 
  35. ^ a b Grady, Mary (June 17, 2015). "FAA Okays Icon Production". AVweb. Retrieved June 20, 2015. 
  36. ^ Trimble, Stephen (July 22, 2015). "Icon delivers safe, easy A5 seaplane after long development phase". Flightglobal.com. Retrieved July 30, 2015. 
  37. ^ Walters, Helen (July 29, 2009). "IDEA 2009: Designing a Better World". BusinessWeek. Retrieved November 28, 2010. 
  38. ^ a b "Spark Award Winners". Spark Awards. 2009. Retrieved November 16, 2011. 
  39. ^ "Annual Design Review 2009". I.D. 2009. Archived from the original on July 6, 2009. 
  40. ^ a b "ICON Receives Prestigious Design Awards". ICON Aircraft. 2009. Archived from the original on January 3, 2010. 
  41. ^ "Icon A5: A seaplane for beginners". Popular Science. December 8, 2008. Retrieved November 15, 2011. 
  42. ^ "5 Great Transportation Awards". BusinessWeek. 2009. Retrieved November 16, 2011. 
  43. ^ "A Year of IDEAs: 2009". IDSA.org. 2009. Retrieved November 16, 2011. 
  44. ^ "11.4 Icon A5 aircraft by Icon". Wallpaper*. 2010. Retrieved November 16, 2011. 
  45. ^ "ICON A5 Amphibisches Sportflugzeug mit faltbaren Flügeln". Red Dot. 2010. Retrieved November 16, 2011. 
  46. ^ Bergqvist, Pia (August 19, 2015). "We Fly: Icon A5". Flying. Retrieved September 1, 2015. 

External links[edit]