Icon A5 Seaplane follow-up

In August 2010, I wrote about the Icon A5 Seaplane. This was originally supposed to be delivered at the end of 2010. The company’s latest press release says that Cirrus (now Chinese-owned) is going to make most of the airframe components and that deliveries will start in mid-2013. My review predicted that weight was going to be a serious problem with the plane and now the company has asked for a 250 lb. gross weight increase from the FAA. This is on top of the 110 lb. increase that Light Sport airplanes already get for being seaplanes. A typical Light Sport Aircraft weighs 1320 lbs. fully loaded with people and fuel and has a 100 HP engine for rolling down a paved runway and taking off. Icon is asking to go up to 1680 lbs. with that same engine, but this time dragging the aircraft through the water. Time to get some longer lakes…

[I want to own a 1/4 share in an Icon, by the way. With a 7000′ runway at Hanscom Field, I am confident that I can get the thing up into the air. East Coast Aero Club’s Charlie Wright, in addition to being a great instructor and having a seaplane rating, actually knows how to operate a seaplane. So it could be a safe and fun airplane to take to long, sea-level lakes.]

12 Comments

  1. John

    August 8, 2012 @ 10:45 am

    1

    So what do you think of their anti-spin technology? And the odds of the FAA improving the weight increase?

    When I dream, I frequently dream big and think of seaplanes and light jets. Both of my sisters live on long lakes, so this would be perfect for me! But the web also lets me see the realities of accident rates, GPM flight times, etc.

    I see the listed price is down to $139,000. I could probably swing a 1% share…

  2. Steve

    August 8, 2012 @ 11:31 am

    2

    The Lisa Akoya looks pretty cool. A little more expensive.
    http://www.lisa-airplanes.com/

    Saw one at Hanscom outside where your helicopter hangar. Heard that it taxied out to the runway and then back. Pilots/ owners? didn’t look too happy

    Does anyone know have any first hand knowledge about them?

  3. Rick

    August 8, 2012 @ 11:23 pm

    3

    How many hours of flying have you accrued to date?

    Do you still want to purchase this plane even though the delivery date was delayed?

  4. Colin Summers

    August 9, 2012 @ 5:12 pm

    4

    Really?

    You did not have encouraging things to say about even professional pilots flying amphibious planes. Something about forgetting the landing gear and flipping the plane on water landings. Even with thousands of hours in the log book. How many hours do you have now?

  5. philg

    August 10, 2012 @ 11:24 am

    5

    Colin: I am not relying on my ATP and 4000 or so hours to keep me safe, but on flying with Charlie (he flies an amphib C182 regularly, I think). Maybe after some recurrent training with Charlie I would go up with a friend (a thin one!).

    Rick: Do I still want to purchase one? I haven’t placed an order, so I guess I don’t want it that badly.

    Steve: I don’t know anything about the Lisa Akoya. They don’t seem to have a take-over-the-world plan like the Icon folks, so maybe the risk is less.

    John: What about their anti-spin technology? Anything that adds 250 lbs. of weight to a plane with a 100 HP engine is not a pro-safety feature. I’m not an aerodynamics expert, but I don’t know that their anti-spin design, in practical use, is any different or better than some earlier planes (all of which have gotten into spins, of course!). I’m not sure what the FAA will do. They are charged with promoting aviation so they have some authority to bend the rules to help a new company prosper. On the other hand, this would set a crazy precedent. Other LSA companies will all be wanting exemptions. And circling back to the issue of real-world safety, the biggest safety problem with an amphibious seaplane has nothing to do with spins!

  6. Colin Summers

    August 10, 2012 @ 12:29 pm

    6

    They could drop a hundred pounds by losing the folding wing design. Is that really going to gain them that many customers?

  7. Bas Scheffers

    August 14, 2012 @ 1:25 am

    7

    Think back 4000 hours ago to the Katana you trained in. That’s also over 1600 lbs max gross with only an 80 horse engine. Never underestimate the eagerness of an efficient airframe to want to fly even on not a lot of power!

  8. philg

    August 14, 2012 @ 10:40 am

    8

    Bas: Good point, but the Katana was on wheels instead of floats!

  9. Tom

    August 14, 2012 @ 1:10 pm

    9

    How about the Seawind (http://www.seawind.net/) that is sitting just outside the hangar where your helicopters are? Not an LSA but looks about the same.

  10. Steve

    August 14, 2012 @ 8:29 pm

    10

    Here’s another interesting looking seaplane in the lsa category. Less than the Akoya

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AirMax_SeaMax

    In production since 2001

  11. Bas Scheffers

    August 15, 2012 @ 6:22 am

    11

    Looking at another amphibious LSA (http://www.seamax.com.au/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=48&Itemid=37) they specify only a very small difference in take off run between land and water for their aircraft. So even if the heavier A5 doubles these figures, it is still workable.

    Whether they can convince the FAA to give them the exemption or whether it is smart to sell these aircraft to minimum-trained newbies is another matter entirely…

  12. mike

    August 17, 2012 @ 3:10 am

    12

    There are physics re free-surface flow hull design that at this time may be going OVER YOUR HEAD (or was it GOIN’ OUTTA MY HEAD….?) at this time. Failed engine on TO with a seaplane is not the same as ground-based aircraft. The plane must after all back in the water n the water at landing speed in any case.

    Mods to to the hull can have large payouts to take-off (margin that is ) performance. by ‘large’ I mean reductions of to speed ono 20 kts or more depending…

    mjh

Log in