Icon Aircraft, a year removed from layoffs, a production halt, and retooling a controversial purchase agreement, announced at EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, that deliveries of the A5 light sport amphibian have resumed, with six customers receiving their aircraft in June and July.
In a press release, Icon CEO and founder Kirk Hawkins acknowledged the difficulties of Icon’s recent past.
The challenges Hawkins referred to began with the market's chilly reception to the controversial terms of a purchase agreement crafted by the company in hope of limiting its liability that also limits the ability of buyers to sell their aircraft. The company announced layoffs, production cuts, and changes to the purchase agreement in May 2016.
A year later, an accident killed two Icon employees including lead test pilot and A5 designer Jon Karkow, along with new hire Cagri Sever, who perished after their A5 flew low and slow into a cove along Lake Berryessa and collided with terrain near the company’s headquarters in Vacaville, California. The NTSB investigation of that first fatal accident involving an A5 is ongoing.
Since its introduction in 2008, the A5 has attracted much attention—and deposits, with more than 1,800 deposits received to date, according to the July 24 press release.
That same announcement also noted “a few open production slots are also available in 2018 for those interested in moving to an earlier delivery."
The past 18 months have seen Icon open flight centers at the company’s California headquarters, and in Tampa, Florida, with 125 students trained to fly the A5 to date. Design refinements for the 2018 model year were not specified, though the company noted the refinements “improve usability and serviceability.”
The company’s new manufacturing facility in Queretaro, Mexico, is complete, the company announced, and has started turning out airframes. The first 2018 Icon A5s will be delivered in September, and production is expected to ramp up through the remainder of 2017 “and then accelerate rapidly throughout 2018,” the company said. The company has also authorized maintenance providers, Ace Aviation in Washington, and Neptune Aviation Services in Montana, and is looking to partner with additional flight instruction and maintenance providers to expand both networks.