By Andrew Liszewski
Way back in 2004, the FAA created a Light Sport Aircraft category and a Sport Pilot certificate with the intentions of making flying more accessible and affordable for the masses. And that’s where the ICON A5 enters the picture. It’s a two-seater floatplane designed for even the most novice of pilots thanks to a simplified instrument panel, GPS navigation and minimal instrumentation. In fact the interior looks more like your average sports car, than the cockpit of a 747. But that’s not all. The A5 can also run on unleaded gas meaning you can refuel at most marinas, and it has a folding wing design making it compact enough to tow behind a car and be stored in your garage.
The company behind the A5, ICON Aircraft, is located in Southern California and their engineering and development team apparently came from Burt Rutan’s Scaled Composites, who are probably best known these days for building SpaceShipOne and the upcoming SpaceShipTwo. So needless to say the design and construction of the A5 is probably top-notch. In fact I’d be pulling out my checkbook right now were it not for the fact that their idea of ‘affordable’ is a price tag of $139,000. But at least you don’t have to pay hanger or airport fees right?