May 2, 2013
By Alton K. Marsh
The May 2012 request from Icon Aircraft to the FAA for an exemption that would allow Icon's A5 amphibious aircraft to weigh 250 pounds more than current light sport aircraft limits for seaplanes has been delayed. Earl Lawrence, manager of the FAA Small Airplane Directorate, said in a letter sent April 25 and made public May 2 that the FAA's Aircraft Certification Service, Flight Standards Service, and Office of the Chief Counsel need more information.
The FAA has now exceeded the usual 120-day response time, but said it was necessary due to the “complexity, extent, and precedent-setting aspects of your petition.” The letter was sent to Kirk Hawkins, CEO of Icon Aircraft, in Los Angeles.
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 FAA is seeking flight test data and results, signed statements attesting to the spin-resistant performance during stall recovery, plus explanations as to why Icon proposes requirements for pilots and mechanics to have Icon training.
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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