Experience sport flying through the innovative Icon A5 Aircraft.

Flying is an aspiration. For humans, flying is freedom and power to rise above. Yet, most people don’t have a pilot’s license. Accessible sport flying can change that and Icon aims to help. In 2004, the Federal Aviation Administration [FAA] created a new category of aircraft called Light Sport Aircraft.

This change came with a new pilot license option: Sport Pilot. Working with the Experimental Aircraft Association [EAA], the FAA has now opened doors for consumer recreational flying. Now people need aircraft options that are easy to fly and easy to store.

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Icon is a Los Angeles-based company that is working on just that. It’s co-founded by Kirk Hawkins and Steen Strand. Hawkins has been a sport and flying enthusiast for 25 years. This Stanford Business School grad also flew F-16s in the US Air Force and 767s for American Airlines. Strand is also a Stanford alum with a background in product design, marketing and brand building. He also co-founded an early hedge fund with over $500 million in assets.

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The two have acquired a team of like-minded individuals set on changing aviation as we know it. With the Icon A5, the company’s sport flying aircraft, they’re already flipping paradigms. First up, a folding wing. That’s right, the wings fold and tuck to the side of the plane. This means easy storing in hangars and transporting on highways or roads.

The next big idea involves Angle of Attack [AoA]. As Hawkins knows from his Air Force days, AoA helps fighter pilots avoid stalls. The trick is knowing the angle of the wing to the wind speed. It’s also helpful to be able to push the boundaries of that ratio without risk. Stall is especially possible at low level flight. So, for sport flying, AoA is key to a pilot being able to stay on top of navigation while enjoying the freedom of flying.

Icon has developed an intuitive screen that measures AoA. It lets the pilot see when the wing is happy versus being pushed toward stall. This is a huge innovation in personal flying that has never been done before.

The Icon A5 can be purchased for roughly $189,000. You don’t have to drop that all at once, though. The sport flying aircraft can be reserved for $5,000. That deposit is refundable at any time. The A5 has an expected delivery date of 2018.

 

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