Nearly a decade in the making, the Icon A5 amphibious light-sport aircraft (starting at $189,000) is finally in service and ready to be flown—by new pilots and experienced ones alike—on weekend getaways, lake-hopping excursions, and camping trips. Icon Aircraft, which made its first delivery of an A5 in July, designed the unpressurized, two-seat plane to be easy and safe to operate. It has a maximum speed of just 109 mph and an FAA-limited service ceiling of 10,000 feet, and it is equipped with a full-aircraft parachute. The A5 is also the first light-sport aircraft with a spin-resistant airframe, which—like its wings, tail, internal structure, and cockpit panels—is made of carbon fiber. Flying the A5 requires a sport-pilot license, which can be obtained with only 20 hours of flight training. Owners can learn to fly the aircraft through the pilot-training program that Icon conducts at its headquarters in Vacaville, Calif. (The price is $9,500 for owners with no flying experience.)
The A5 has a simple and intuitive cockpit that feels more like the interior of a sports car than that of a plane. Adding to that aura are side windows that can be removed so you can fly with the breeze in your hair and an elbow hanging out of the cockpit. The rear-facing 100 hp Rotax engine that powers the aircraft runs on standard automobile gasoline or aviation fuel.
The A5’s wings fold up to the side of the plane, reducing its width from 34 feet to 8.5 feet so that it can be towed on a trailer behind a car to a runway or a lake. (Icon offers a trailer as an option.) The plane can land on and take off from water, and its 60-pound baggage capacity offers plenty of room for fishing and camping equipment.
Because of a backlog of orders, the next available deliveries of the Icon A5 are in 2019.