August 6, 2012
By Alton K. Marsh
Icon Aircraft officials say they plan to have Cirrus Aircraft make a significant portion of the composite airframe for the A5 amphibious light sport aircraft. They are also waiting for a decision on a May filing with the FAA Small Airplane Directorate to operate Icon’s spin-resistant design at a weight above the current LSA definition.
Under light sport rules, Icon’s amphibious aircraft is limited to 1,430 pounds. Icon hopes to win an exemption to raise the maximum takeoff weight to 1,680 pounds, a 250-pound increase. In return, Icon offers a spin-resistant design plus other safety features. The request for the exemption touched off a spirited debate among those commenting. The comment period closed July 27 after a 10-day extension. The comments are open to the public online. The FAA has not indicated when a decision is expected.
The composite Icon structures are to be manufactured in Grand Forks, N.D. Icon will control all design, system integration, final assembly, finishing, and testing at its facility in Tehachapi, Calif. Composite component production is set to begin at the end of 2012, with the first production aircraft scheduled to be completed in the summer of 2013.
“The Icon A5 is certainly the most innovative LSA on the market, and we’re delighted to be able to play a meaningful role in bringing it to production,” said Dale Klapmeier, CEO of Cirrus Aircraft. “Icon has hit the nail on the head with the A5, and we’re excited to combine Cirrus’ 15-plus years of world-class composite aircraft development and production experience with Icon’s truly exceptional consumer product design and engineering abilities.”
AOPA Pilot Senior Editor Alton Marsh has been a pilot since 1970 and has an airline transport pilot certificate and instrument and multiengine flight instructor certificates, aerobatic training, and a commercial seaplane certificate.
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