August 2, 2010
AOPA ePublishing staff
Icon Aircraft, which is developing the much-publicized Icon A5 light sport amphibious aircraft, recently announced two design changes. The company has eliminated the flaps and added wing cuffs in an effort to simplify the aircraft and help make it spin-resistant.
“Spin resistance is arguably the most significant safety improvement we could add to the already docile-handling A5,” announced Icon Chief Technical Officer and Vice President of Engineering Matthew Gionta in a press release.
The LSA also has an angle of attack indicator to alert pilots when they near a stall.
The company believes that the removal of the flaps will decrease complexity, and in turn increase safety in the aircraft because “the pilot of an A5 will never have to remember to set the flaps for landing, whether on water or land,” Gionta said. Because of the slow operating speeds of the Icon, the company said that the flaps offered little benefit to offset the complexity of the flaps.
The Icon, touted as being as sexy as a sports car, was introduced at EAA AirVenture in 2008 and has piqued interested not only in the aviation community but also the public. Icon founder Kirk Hawkins took time out in November last year to talk about the project with AOPA President Craig Fuller on AOPA Live.
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The Senate has joined the effort to expand the FAA's third-class medical exemption to more pilots and aircraft.
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