In 2004, the FAA created the new Light Sport Aircraft category and a new category of pilot license called Sports Pilot. That is when former fighter pilot Kirk Hawkins started his company ICON.
The FAA’s new specifications for “sport planes” are 2 people and are single engine aircrafts with a maximum speed of 120 knots (138 mph). The ICON A5 is a seaplane built to meet these specifications.
Clearly getting some inspiration from the Republic RC-3 Sea Bee made famous from James Bond’s movie “Man with the golden gun” it’s meant for pilots who will not be flying in bad weather and at night. It is a much simpler aircraft built for style and safety. The interior was inspired by sports car design and the wings can fold back so it can easily be placed on a trailer, stored in a driveway and launched directly into the water. It's powered by a 100 horsepower engine that can be refueled at most marinas.
At around $139,000, it is affordable as far as airplanes are concerned. With its first flight in July, this new plane is well on its way to being available for delivery in 2010.
ICON A5 Seaplane
1. Light Sport Aircraft - Opportunity for disruptive innovation in designing affordable and stylish aircrafts meeting the FAA's specifications.
2. Sports Car-inspired Design - Innovation potential in incorporating sports car aesthetics and interior design elements into aircrafts.
3. Foldable Wings - Potential for disruptive innovation in developing aircrafts with foldable wings for easy storage and transportation.
1. Aerospace - Opportunity for disruptive innovation in the aerospace industry by creating affordable and stylish aircrafts that meet FAA specifications.
2. Automotive - Innovation potential in the automotive industry by incorporating sports car design elements into aircraft interiors.
3. Marine - Opportunity for disruptive innovation in the marine industry by developing marinas equipped for refueling aircraft engines.