May 31, 2012
By Jim Moore
Icon Aircraft has proved the A5 light sport will resist spins even in a protracted, cross-controlled stall. (The photo depicts the A5 configured for spin testing with requisite instrumentation and safety equipment, including tufts and the boom-mounted spin parachute at the rear of the aircraft, which was installed specifically for the spin-resistance testing and will not appear on production aircraft.)
Spins kill, and Icon’s strategy with the A5 prototype is not to let it come to that. Now, the company, which announced in February the completion of a flight test program designed to mimic the validation required for spin resistance certification under Part 23, has produced a video highlighting the prototype’s ability to retain roll control throughout a stall—with no tendency to yaw into a spin.
The video also puts the A5 in formation with a Cessna 150, both pilots using identical, spin-inducing control inputs. The Cessna quickly rolls and spins, while the A5 just settles gently, wings level. This is the latest chapter in a coordinated marketing campaign that focuses on an engineering answer to an often-deadly human failure: The inability of many pilots to avoid, or recover from, spins—particularly at low altitude. Traffic pattern stall-spin accidents are often fatal.
Icon has collected more than 650 deposits, and hopes to start production later this year. The company has said it will not seek Part 23 certification—aiming instead for the LSA market—but has completed spin tests that would be required to do so.
AOPA Online Associate Editor Jim Moore joined AOPA in 2011 and is an instrument-rated private pilot who enjoys competition aerobatics.
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