An amphibious craft for amateurs
The Icon A5 is nothing if not versatile. The lightweight plane can use both runways and water to take off and land, and its wings fold back for convenient storage. To fly it, one needs only a Sport Pilot license, which is cheaper and requires less training than other Federal Aviation Administration certifications. Designed for hobbyists, the plane boasts two-person seating, a top speed of 120 miles per hour, and a 345-mile range.
Since its completion, ESN-1 has been undergoing extensive flight testing and systems performance verification. The objective of this process is to confirm that the production version of the A5 meets or exceeds the performance of the Proof of Concept (POC), which underwent more than 700 test flights for aerodynamic, hydrodynamic, and systems development. The ultimate goal is to prepare the production A5 for ASTM compliance and delivery to the first customer next spring.
As part of that process, the team performed several days of water testing at ICON’s primary water ops location, Lake Isabella, California. While the POC’s hull design was arguably one of the most modern and sophisticated amphibious hull designs in history, the ICON engineering team pushed ESN-1’s design in an effort to further improve the A5’s water-handling characteristics. With the goal of making the A5 as safe, easy to use, and fun as possible, water testing focused on verifying that the new hull design’s performance exceeds the POC’s in the following areas:
Sources: www.bestofwhatsnew.popsci.com; Eric Adams and Sophie Bushwick; 2014.. www.iconaircraft.com; December 23, 2014.