icon a5 amphibious light sport aircraft

In this article, we will be discussing the icon a5 amphibious light sport aircraft. Our team has researched and reviewed the icon a5 price to help you come up with a better decision. We’ve also put up a shopping guide with the features you can consider when getting icon a5 specs.

Let’s get started 

icon a5 amphibious light sport aircraft

Earlier this week, I had a chance to take a flight in a diminutive airplane called the Icon A5. For someone whose air travel has typically meant an economy-class seat on a commercial airliner, sitting in the pilot’s seat of the A5 stoked a mixture of reactions. It was exhilarating, crazy, a little scary and, above all, a lot of fun.

icon a5 price

At $189,000 for the plane, it would be an extremely expensive hobby.

Vacaville, California-based Icon wants to turn aviation into the next motor sport — think the logical progression from an all-terrain vehicle or powerboat to a plane. The startup’s debut aircraft, the A5, is the first mass-produced light plane designed for recreational use. A “light sport aircraft,” the A5 is accessible to regular people because it doesn’t require a full pilot’s license or extensive training.

The Icon A5 sport plane can take off from land or water.Sarah Tew/CNET

It has already drawn a healthy amount of interest. More than 1,500 would-be pilots have put down a $5,000 deposit on an A5 as the company ramps up production. You think the backlog for a new iPhone 6S is bad? If you order an A5 today, you’ll get your plane in 2019. While the ceremonial first plane was delivered in July, the first consumer deliveries won’t begin until next year.

Will it be worth the wait? Yes.

I spent more than half an hour in the A5. Jeremy Brunn, a former Navy pilot who’s now director of flight training with Icon, sat next to me in the co-pilot’s seat. (There are control sticks for both seats.) The craft is amphibious, able to take off from and land on ground or water. The plane was docked on the Hudson River, so we took off from the river near North Manhattan with the goal of heading to the Statue of Liberty and back.

After a bit of formation flying with a sister A5, and a few fancy turns to demonstrate the ease of the controls, Brunn headed us south.

We started our test flight with formation flying with another A5.Sarah Tew/CNET

One of Icon’s challenges is to persuade people that flying isn’t just a means of transportation, that it can be fun.

“People are taught to believe flying is dangerous,” said Klaus Tritschler, vice president of design for Icon.

icon a5 specs

That fear admittedly got to me a bit when we first breezed over the George Washington Bridge. The A5 already seemed small when docked, but aloft the cockpit felt downright tiny, with the windows removed so you can stick your arm out (not that I would recommend it). You’re in what’s essentially a small box suspended in the air, with the occasional air pocket as a jarring reminder that it’s a long way down.

Then again, it is a sharp-looking box. Tritschler, who previously worked in design at automaker BMW, said he aimed to create a sleek, “badass” look for the plane. Mission accomplished.

My fears subsided when I took the control stick after we settled into a cruising altitude of about 500 feet. I felt a lot more comfortable on the return trip as I pulled back on the stick and watched the plane elevate to 800 feet over the George Washington Bridge.

The plane was responsive, deftly banking left or right as I moved the controls — not that I have experience flying planes. The best analogy I can provide is that the controls work a lot like those of a video game. They’re intuitive and easy to pick up.

Icon’s director of flight instruction, Jeremy Brunn (left), runs through the controls with me.Sarah Tew/CNET

Indeed, the dashboard sported few dials and meters. It seemed everything about the cockpit was streamlined. For the most part, Brunn said, you need to pay attention to only one gauge: an indicator called “angle of attack.” It’s essentially a look at the state of the wings and how safely you’re flying. Green is good, yellow is not so good and red means you’re likely to stall.

But even stalling doesn’t necessarily mean crashing. In the most harrowing and exciting moment of the test run, Brunn actually pulled the craft up to stall the plane, putting the angle-of-attack gauge deep into the red zone and setting off a disconcerting alarm. Other planes in this state might flip over, he said, but the design of the A5’s wings allows it to remain stable.

Brunn wrapped up the run with a few high-velocity banks, as well as some hops and skips over the water as he showed how easy it was to land and take off.

By the time we were done, I was mentally trying to calculate how long it would take me to save enough for an A5. Conclusion: It’s pretty much never going to happen.

The A5, even among other light sport planes and full-fledged planes, is expensive. Icon CEO Kirk Hawkins said that his goal is to eventually decrease the price, but he warned he could go only so low.

“I mean, it is an airplane,” he said.

Icon’s A5 light sport plane takes to the skies of Manhattan (pictures)

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icon-sport-light-plane-01.jpg

The A5 offers other advantages. You need only a sport pilot license, which is easier and cheaper to obtain than a standard pilot license. Icon requires that you take a three-week course before you fly off with your plane.

The craft is also relatively portable, with wings that fold back, allowing you to haul it with a car or park it at home. It doesn’t require an airport. You just need to find a long field, track or body of water.

Hawkins isn’t concerned by the prospect that these sport planes might crowd the skies. “The airspace can absorb a lot of crafts,” he said. “It’s a giant public park.”

This class of aircraft can go up to only 10,000 feet, while commercial aircraft fly above 20,000. Just avoid the areas near airports and you’re good to go, Hawkins said.

Still, the sight of an A5 flying around will continue to be pretty alien. Later that afternoon, two police officers stopped by the restaurant where Icon had set up for the demonstration. Neighbors had called about two strange aircraft flying around the river. After a brief explanation, the officers chuckled as they walked down to the dock to check out the planes.

How to Buy a Private Helicopter: 5 Things You Need to Know When You Are Buying a Private Helicopter

There are many benefits of owning a helicopter, including getting to work on time when living 100 miles (ca. 161 km) away from your office. The main advantage of owning a helicopter is freedom. Once you have permission and some space, you can set your course for any destination.

soaring over the sky!

Content List

  1. Will You Be the Pilot or the Passenger?
  2. Predetermine Your Budget
  3. How Far Will You Travel?
  4. Other Considerations
  5. Payment

A private owner in the United Kingdom can fly to Devon and back to London without stopping to refuel. A pub in Oxford, the Manson’s Arms, has a helipad. The photographs of helicopters that visit adorn the walls of the pub. It is a thrilling and bizarre place to visit.

Modern helicopters have engines that are quieter and more efficient with advanced glass cockpits that offer fewer distractions for pilots. Airbus Helicopters’ Ed Sale responded to GQ at the Elite London event giving insight into what to consider when buying a private helicopter.

1. Will You Be the Pilot or the Passenger?

The majority of helicopter owners are pilots so they can fly themselves. Private pilots and those who own a helicopter and fly themselves prefer hands-on, less bulky designs.

Bigger helicopters are usually reserved for professional pilots while the owners sit in the back. The big shots use this as their executive means of transport. Midrange helicopters have administrative abilities too but are fun to handle.

The bigger the aircraft, the more experience a pilot requires. A well-trained amateur can fly any of the Robinson chopper models. The same applies to the B3 and B4 Eurocopter Ecureuil, AgustaWestland Koala and Bell 407. If you are looking at bigger models, like the AgustaWestland A109 with more sophisticated instrumentation, you will need a professional pilot.

If planning to become a pilot, next choose a flying school. Lots of flying schools will issue Private Pilot Licenses PPLs(H). Ask friends with helicopters to recommend a good flying school.

It helps if the flying school is local to you as you need a minimum of 45 hours of training over 12 months. Training costs vary from school to school but expect it to cost around $26,200 (around £20,000). This covers your tests, exams, flying hours, medicals, equipment, and airfield fees.

Training at Heli Air, one of the UK’s largest Robinson helicopter distributors, will cost you $10,500 (around £8,000). This covers theory in subjects like meteorology, air law, and flight planning. A Class 2 medical is compulsory.

After qualifying, you need an annual review to renew your license. You can opt to expand your qualification to include formation flying and night flying. The choice is yours.

2. Predetermine Your Budget

Design, capacity, and the manufacturer determines a helicopter’s price. Set your budget right from the start. It helps narrow your search.

Just like cars, you will have a range of options. Sloane Helicopters marketing director, Giorgio Bendoni, says first-time buyers can choose from the two-seater, single-piston Robinson R22 to the twin-turbine, eight-seater AgustaWestland Grand. It depends on budget flexibility.

While helicopters are expensive, some are cheaper than a Lamborghini. The Robinson R44, the world’s most famous helicopter, costs only $350,000 (around £313,500) and half that second-hand.

When setting your budget, add maintenance costs too. Some helicopter’s cost more to maintain than others. Lower priced helicopters can cost more in maintenance over the long run.

The AgustaWestland Grand and the AgustaWestland A109 are great in sophistication and space, but with an annual depreciation of five to 10 percent, you may want to weigh your options.

You should also consider the cost of insurance, capital investment, and depreciation.

3. How Far Will You Travel?

Aircraft manufacturers offer similar models with a small tweak in design and performance. Cheaper helicopters are smaller. And this limits the number of people it can carry, fuel capacity, and distance it can travel.

So, you need to decide how many people need to travel in your helicopter regularly. Also look at the distance it can travel before needing to refuel. The H125 is a midrange helicopter that guarantees 300 to 350 miles (ca. 563 km) or 2½ hours without refueling.

4. Other Considerations

The Airbus H160 is a new sleek design marketed to business and private customers, while the H125 has strong competition from the Bell 407. The cabin is separate from the cockpit and is luxurious. It has two seats facing each other and is a great option if you have a pilot. In contrast, an Airbus is a better option with you as the pilot as there is no separation from your passengers.

The choice of interior should reflect the helicopter’s purpose. Some people ignore carpets as it is a lot of work to keep clean. Leather seats are an attractive option as are seats with twin leather stitching which are currently in vogue.

Landing Space is Limited

Landing spaces in London are limited due to their tight restrictions on noise control, which limits helicopter paths. Battersea Heliport is the best place to land and continue your journey using other means. Places you can land outside London include Elstree, Denham, Biggin Hill, and Northolt.

Grab a helicopter landing guide to find somewhere to land in London. It has a list of landing sites around the UK and their phone numbers. This allows you to request landing permission before leaving for your destination. They may let you land for free or for a small fee (around $50).

Terms You Should Know

There are terms you should know if you intend to own a helicopter:

  • VFR (Visual Flying Rules) means you have to keep sight of the ground.
  • IFR (Instrument Flight Rules) means you can fly above or in the clouds.
  • A two-seat piston engine VFR is a basic helicopter.
  • ILS (Instrument Landing System) is what you dial into to get to the ground.
  • You use a noise-canceling headset for communication.
  • Autopilot allows you to control the aircraft without moving the controls and is not available in all helicopters.

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