YouTube – ICON A5
2018 price fully equipped:
Initial Climb Rate:
Rotax Flat Four
23 ft. 0 in.
34 ft. 7 in.
20 U.S. gals.
The ICON A5 is a two seat amphibious light sport aircraft featuring rear folding wings for easy transport. It is produced primarily from carbon-fiber, has a rear facing pusher engine with Full Authority Digital Engine Control (FADEC) and a Complete Aircraft Parachute (CAP) system. The aircraft’s composite parts are produced in Mexico and transported to Vacaville, California for final assembly.
The rear mounted pusher engine helps avoid water spray while providing an unobstructed view from the A5’s cockpit. All lights of the ICON A5 are LED, with more than adequate cockpit lighting and well placed landing lights.
Checking fuel for contamination can be difficult on most aircraft and close to impossible on most float planes. Imagine trying to keep one’s footing on a float while trying to reach a wing sump, or being between floats trying to reach the front engine sump. The ICON A5 uses a tube inside the fuel neck where a syringe is inserted to easily draw up the fuel.
The landing gear of the ICON A5 uses a two position actuation switch with the down position extending the landing gear and the up position retracting them for flight and water landings.
The canopy is easily opened with one hand by a convenient handle on its top. Cockpit seating will accommodate most people comfortably with adjustable rudder pedals, but fixed seating. Analog instruments are all easy to read, with the Angle of Attack (AOA) indicator at the center top position. There is a warning light that activates if the folding wings are not locked into their in-flight position properly.
The wings of the ICON A5 can be manually folded from an open width of 35 feet to a closed position of less than 8 feet in less than a minute. Activation is by levers under each wing.
Flying the ICON A5
The motor starts easily, hot or cold, by moving the ignition switch to “Lane A” and waiting about six seconds while the engine control system activates, then turning the switch to “Lane B” for about six more seconds, then turning the switch to “Both and Start”. In the run up area, a check of the ICON A5 ignition system is performed, similar to a mag check on legacy engines.
Taking off from water, the ICON A5 quickly and smoothly gets on plane and into the air. Rotation speed with flaps up is at 50 KIAS (knots indicated air speed). When flying from land, gear retraction is at 75 KIAS.
The center stick falls readily at hand as does the throttle lever. The FADEC engine does not require any prop or mixture inputs from the pilot. Flight controls are light and well coordinated. Best climb rate is at 500 feet per minute and 60 KIAS.
When a safe altitude is reached, the ICON A5 can be slowed to check out its stall characteristics, which are extremely docile. Approaching stall speed will be evidenced with the wings starting to shake. Aileron control can be maintained throughout the stall, that is far less abrupt than in most other aircraft. Turns can be accomplished while stalled and the aircraft shows no tendency to spin. The wings of the ICON A5 are designed so that while the inner wing is stalled, the wing cuff will maintain lift over the outer wing and ailerons so the aircraft can be controlled.
Using the angle of attack indicator white line for the ICON A5 will result in its most efficient fuel consumption. With higher speeds, the indicator will go into the green. That indicates high cruise speeds. Red is the stall speed. Due to the IAS (indicated air speed) changing with G-load, weight, and flap configuration, it is preferable to use the AOA indicator to maintain the same degree angle for all maneuvers.
Landing the ICON A5 on water is easy. With the throttle at idle the ICON A5 has an excellent glide ratio of 9:1. The approach is started using the angle of attack indicator white line and staying there until on short final. Slow down is a few feet above the water with the AOA in the middle of the yellow. This is about 1.3 times the stall speed with flaps extended. Landing on a runway involves extending the landing gear once speed is below 75 KIAS. The well coordinated controls make smooth landings easy and keeping the castering nose wheel on the runway center line is effortless. On the ground, using braking, the castering nose wheel allows the ICON A5 to maneuver in very tight spaces.
Production, as of this writing, is around five aircraft per month. That is expected to increase to twenty aircraft a month when additional financing is found. Some 100 ICON A5 aircraft have been produced to date, with approximately 1,200 on back order.
RC ICON A5