The Icon Aircraft A5 sport seaplane has successfully completed an official FAA audit and is now ready to start customer deliveries. The first hand-off to a customer will take place in July at the EAA AirVenture Oshkosh aviation event in Wisconsin. The two-seat airplane features folding wings to make it easy to transport on a trailer or fit in a garage, and a cockpit design reminiscent of a luxury automobile’s. It can operate from either land or water, and can fly 345 miles at speeds of up to 120 mph. It also comes with a full aircraft parachute that can be deployed in an emergency.
The A5 has been in development since 2006. The company’s founder and CEO, Kirk Hawkins, a former pilot for the U.S. Air Force and American Airlines, teamed up with chief engineer John Karkow, formerly of the famed Scaled Composites design company, and developed a number of unique technologies that aim to maximize the aircraft’s safety and performance. The A5 can be flown with an FAA Sport Pilot Certificate, which can be earned in as few as 20 flight hours—though most beginners require more time. The airplane sells fully equipped for $250,000. The company says it has orders for 1,250 of the airplanes and will start serial production in a new 140,000-square-foot facility in Vacaville, Calif., in September. (iconaircraft.com)