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NTSB issues preliminary report on fatal Icon A5 accidentNTSB issues preliminary report on fatal Icon A5 accident

The first fatal accident involving an Icon A5 amphibious light sport aircraft occurred during a familiarization flight for a new Icon Aircraft employee, the National Transportation Safety Board said in a preliminary report of the May 8 accident that killed the aircraft’s pilot and passenger near Lake Berryessa, California.

The crash killed Jon Karkow, 55, Icon Aircraft’s lead test pilot and one of its designers, and Cagri Sever, 41, who had recently relocated to Icon’s headquarters in Vacaville, California, from Ann Arbor, Michigan.

The flight had departed Nut Tree Airport in Vacaville under visual meteorological conditions about 16 minutes before the mishap, according to the preliminary report.

The NTSB noted the account of a witness who was in a boat on Lake Berryessa and reported “observing the accident airplane flying over the lake about 30 to 50 feet above the water, at what seemed to be a low speed,” before entering a cove.

“The witness heard the engine ‘rev up’ as the airplane drifted to the right side of the cove. Subsequently, the airplane pitched upward and entered a left turn, just before it traveled beyond the witness's field of view. The witness stated that he heard the sound of impact shortly after losing visual sight of the airplane,” said the preliminary report released May 12.

An accident site examination indicated that the airplane “impacted terrain and came to rest upright.”

A remembrance of Karkow on the Icon Aircraft website noted that the Icon team was devastated by the loss of the “unsung hero” who was “55 years young and had dedicated his entire life to innovation in aviation.”

The Icon A5, a folding-wing aircraft designed to be spin resistant but also offering crisp handling, generated much excitement on its introduction. A first accident involving the aircraft, a hard water landing, occurred April 1 during a demonstration flight over the waters off Miami.

Approximately 20 Icon A5s have been built and have logged more than 3,500 flight hours, and about 1,800 aircraft have been ordered.

Dan Namowitz

Dan Namowitz

Associate Editor Web
Associate Editor Web Dan Namowitz has been writing for AOPA in a variety of capacities since 1991. He has been a flight instructor since 1990 and is a 30-year AOPA member.
Topics: Light Sport Aircraft, Accident

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