Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Icon A5 - A Light Sport Aircraft and a Transformer?

Throughout the years, we have seen many concepts and ideas designed to bring flying to the masses, but Icon Aircraft might have finally done it.

A few posts ago, I showed you the Viperjet II and asked if it was the ultimate boys toy. While the Viperjet might be cool as anything, I think we will be seeing more Icons in our skies in the near future.

Looking like something James Bond would have hidden in the back of his garage, the Icon features folding wings allowing it to be towed on a trailer and stored in a good sized garage, yet be ready for flight in five minutes. There is even an option to have the wing mechanism automated... Just press a button and the aircraft sorts itself out for you.

The Rotax engine is tried and tested, so no worries there. In the Icon, the 100hp Rotax provides enough power for a maximum speed of 105kts (120mph), while a 20 (US) gallon fuel tank gives a range of 300nm (approximately 555km).

The fuselage shape may look odd, until you realize that the A5 is as happy on water as on land. Yes, the A5 doesn't even need a runway, just find a reasonably large lake with a boat launch ramp and away you go.How cool is that?

Take a look at the interior! If you have spent any time in a light aircreaft, you can immediately see that this looks more like a sports car than a flying machine. In a move designed to make the cabin less intimidating for sport pilots, not only have they drafted in designers from the automotive world, they have cut back on instrumentation. All the essentials are there, but you won't get distracted by hundreds of dials and switches.

The projected price is in the region of $139,000 although some things are extras (automatic wing folding, trailer, night flying package for example). Although this may sound like a lot, trust me, in aviation terms this is cheap as chips. As an interesting cashflow strategy, Icon Aircraft have offered the first 100 A5s at $135,000 with a limited edition paint scheme and interior... All you have to do is stump up $100,000 deposit to jump the queue. If you're happy to wait for a standard machine, a $5,000 deposit will book one... You'll have to wait until 2014 though.

The order book is filling up, with the first Icon A5s to be delivered to their new owners in autumn 2011.

For more information, flash animations, multimedia and even desktop wallpapers, visit ICON Aircraft, but for now check out this video of the Icon A5 in action.

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