Photo by Tyson
The ICON A5’s first AirVenture appearance.
Photo by Tyson
ICON Aircraft CEO Kirk Hawkins.
July 27, 2009 - Oshkosh, Wisconsin - ICON
Aircraft's A5 amphibian light-sport aircraft (LSA)-which was first
announced, and a non-flying mock-up displayed, at AirVenture 2008-made its
Oshkosh in-flight debut this morning with an impressive series of passes
flown by test pilot and project engineer Jon Karkow.
Although the prototype has been flying
extensively from water in California during the past year, today's demo
marked its first public appearance flying from land. Landing gear
retraction and extension tests have been successful, but the gear was left
extended during the demo due to a temporary limit switch issue.
After the flight, the airplane was taxied
to AeroShell Square, where EAA President Tom Poberezny introduced ICON
founder and CEO Kirk Hawkins. Poberezny noted that the LSA movement
"is what EAA is all about" and said it represents a significant
direction in aviation's future.
Hawkins said the A5 is many months into its
flight-test program; aerodynamic and hydrodynamic testing are essentially
complete, with tests of the landing gear and terrestrial operations well
underway. Some 400 orders have been received, about a third of them from
non- or first-time pilots.
He added that, as an LSA, the A5 isn't
designed only to meet specific speed, range, or other performance points,
but rather to offer its pilot and passenger a visceral experience of
flight and a new way to interact with the air, with the water when the
aircraft is operated as an amphibian, and with the world around us. After
years of experience flying everything from bushplanes to jet fighters to
airline 767s, Hawkins said his most rewarding experiences have still come
from flying "low and slow with the windows open." He also noted
that with its large single-piece windshield and a pilot position well
forward of the wing and pusher engine, the visibility is on par with that
of the F-16s he flew in the Air Force.
ICON Aircraft's displays are at spaces
162-164 and 180-182. The prototype will be on display at AirVenture
through Thursday, and will operate from the EAA Seaplane Base on Friday.