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EAA AirVenture Oshkosh RSS FeedICON's amphibian makes in-flight debut at Oshkosh
By Peter Lert, EAA AirVenture Today
  

Photo by Tyson Rininger
The ICON A5’s first AirVenture appearance.

Photo by Tyson Rininger
ICON Aircraft CEO Kirk Hawkins.

July 27, 2009 - Oshkosh, WisconsinICON Aircraft's A5 amphibian light-sport aircraft (LSA)-which was first announced, and a non-flying mock-up displayed, at AirVenture 2008-made its Oshkosh in-flight debut this morning with an impressive series of passes flown by test pilot and project engineer Jon Karkow.

Although the prototype has been flying extensively from water in California during the past year, today's demo marked its first public appearance flying from land. Landing gear retraction and extension tests have been successful, but the gear was left extended during the demo due to a temporary limit switch issue.

After the flight, the airplane was taxied to AeroShell Square, where EAA President Tom Poberezny introduced ICON founder and CEO Kirk Hawkins. Poberezny noted that the LSA movement "is what EAA is all about" and said it represents a significant direction in aviation's future.

Hawkins said the A5 is many months into its flight-test program; aerodynamic and hydrodynamic testing are essentially complete, with tests of the landing gear and terrestrial operations well underway. Some 400 orders have been received, about a third of them from non- or first-time pilots.

He added that, as an LSA, the A5 isn't designed only to meet specific speed, range, or other performance points, but rather to offer its pilot and passenger a visceral experience of flight and a new way to interact with the air, with the water when the aircraft is operated as an amphibian, and with the world around us. After years of experience flying everything from bushplanes to jet fighters to airline 767s, Hawkins said his most rewarding experiences have still come from flying "low and slow with the windows open." He also noted that with its large single-piece windshield and a pilot position well forward of the wing and pusher engine, the visibility is on par with that of the F-16s he flew in the Air Force.

ICON Aircraft's displays are at spaces 162-164 and 180-182. The prototype will be on display at AirVenture through Thursday, and will operate from the EAA Seaplane Base on Friday.

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