Test-fly an ICON A5 personal ultralight aircraft in this new video


#1

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#2

That thing is really slick. Although, as (somewhat lapsed) private pilot myself, I must confess the notion of toting that thing around on a trailer gets to me – one serious bonk and you are in for a complete inspection and/or overhaul. The odds of a collision on a airfield strike me as a whole lot smaller.


#3

Very slick indeed.

But at US$189000 + CPI increase I reckon it’ll have to wait. Forever. :cry:


#4

I don’t understand what is sex or aspirational about it, but it seems like a nice enough plane. Probably would have better if they just explained what was special about it, rather than flying around with music.


#5

This is not a great plane to “visit the mountains.”

Single engine push-prop planes are not reliable planes through mountain passes – a fairly modest weather change can take these craft outside their flight envelopes. Also, it’s only got 345 miles of range, so it can’t even go LA -> Lake Tahoe. Even a Cessna 310 has a thousand miles of range – and can be had for half the price.

So what is the point of this toy again? A flying Sparrow?


#6

It is supposedly an ultralight, and those typically use a push-prop. But ultralights are also supposed to have single seats, whereas these have two. For an ultralight I’d say it’s quite nice, but for a regular single-engine aircraft, not so much.


#7

Not an ultralight, it’s a Light Sport Aircraft which means it is supposedly easier and cheaper to get a license for than larger four-seater or larger airplanes (Ultralights, by contrast, require no license). This class of airplane is intended as a recreational and hobby aircraft instead of as point to point transportation.

Personally I think the Icon is pretty dreamy - it can be stored in a garage, can land on water or runways, and looks very accessible (other than the price). I’m just so glad I’m a man and therefore can fly one with my lovely female passenger! The only concern I have is the apparent lack of a good seal on the cockpit, which causes said lovely passengers’ hair to blow around inside.


#8

That’s what you get for neglecting skinhead grrrls!


#9

So the cool thing is if you have your PPL I believe you can fly light sport with nothing for a physical except a drivers license, it also allows one passenger, and may also not need biannual flight review, VFR only, limited fuel, etc.
The allowed aircraft rules keep the aircraft physics around Honda Goldwing danger levels so they created an easy to acquire license and low bar to keeping the license, and many planes are less expensive than this. IMHO it is great program and recognizes that some aircraft present less danger than others and it gives room for the middle class to own and fly in an era where most of us are bleeding cash hoping to get a job, working minimum wage flying commuters, flying commercial jets, flying military, or flat footed looking up at the pretty airplanes.
If this is an ultralight it is even easier not even requiring any certification, though looks too big and probably fits into light sport as I spoke above of.


#10

Maybe they will fly one in to the Clear Lake Splash In next year:
http://www.clearlakesplashin.com


#11

I don’t see how this is a fair comparison, that’s a whole different class of aircraft.


#12

Cool. And there’s a button somewhere that retracts the wings for submersible operations?


#13

There are alternatives…


#14

It HAS to be explained by flying around with music and happy faces because, well, it is a TOY for rich folks.


#15

So… watching a trailer is the same as a test-drive now? That was easy!


#16

Not sure why women aren’t allowed to fly it…

However, the Icon A5 featured as the first available plane to fly in the rather shortlived ‘Microsoft Flight’ free-to-play flight simulator game Microsoft made a few years ago. You got to fly around Hawaii.

There’s a holding page for it here, but it no longer seems to have a download link. If you’re feeling brave, you could download it from softonic, but I have no idea if it will still work - I imagine Microsoft have turned off the servers by now.

Anyway, the plane in the game was a lot of fun to fly, if not particularly fast. The game had fairly detailed cockpits for its planes and you could optionally go through a realistic flight checklist to start the plane and get it to the runway. With the A5, the checklist was pretty simple - not much more complicated than starting a car, and the dashboard looked similar. This was in stark constrast to the Boeing-Stearman 75 biplane which seemed to have about fifty things you had to do before you could even begin to take-off.


#17

Yah, I’m usually pretty tone deaf regarding the portrayal of women in the media unless it’s specifically pointed out. But first impression watching this was women only ever use the vehicle as appreciative passengers.


#18

Ahhhhh, yes, the “ultimate expression of freedom,” shitloads of disposal income.


#19

But what if the truck were on a treadmill?

@bizmail_public: a Cessna 310 is not comparable at all. First as said before, it’s a different class of airplane. Second, the 310 isn’t amphibious. Third, it doesn’t fit in a garage and is not towable. Last and most importantly, the 310 hasn’t been produced in 35 years. Sure you could get a used one for less than this Icon but you’re flying an antique instead of flying a brand new plane. If you want to compare prices, look at the original cost of a 310, which was actually basically the same in the 1970’s as the Icon is now. Adjusted for inflation the 310 would be more than half a million dollars today.


#20

If you want an amphibious plane, this is a pretty good price point, comparatively – sure you get more out of a float cessna or an old grumman, but you are going to pay more:

http://www.trade-a-plane.com/search?s-type=aircraft_keyword_search&s-seq=1&keyword=amphibious&s-lvl=3

(Scroll down to the bottom – a good bargain on a plane with just 104 total time.)