Get Updates  |  Contact  |  Careers  |  Investors  |  Owners  |  Store  |  FAQ  |  Search
News

The ICON team has started assembly of ESN1 (Engineering Serial Number 1), the first aircraft to be made using production tooling. This will be the first of four production prototype aircraft that will be used to verify performance and demonstrate ASTM compliance prior to customer deliveries.

“Starting assembly of the first A5 made with production tooling is an exciting milestone for the ICON team,” said Matthew Gionta, ICON’s CTO and VP of Engineering. “We have spent years designing and testing the A5 to reach this point, so there is a lot of excitement and emotion associated with starting to build. Parts continue to stream in for the first prototype build, which has started with the horizontal tail and wings, and will progress onward to the fuselage, interior, and final assembly in the coming months.”


ICON engineers and technicians bond the spars and ribs that comprise the internal structure of the horizontal tail to the upper and lower skins of the horizontal tail using structural adhesive.
ICON engineers and technicians bond the spars and ribs that comprise the internal structure of the horizontal tail to the upper and lower skins of the horizontal tail using structural adhesive.

Assembly of the first production prototype A5’s horizontal tail began in January at the company’s engineering and production facility in Tehachapi, California. The assembly process includes bonding the internal structure of the horizontal tail, which includes the spar and ribs, to the outer skin using an epoxy adhesive. The contact surfaces are then carefully positioned relative to one another in an assembly fixture that guarantees proper adhesive thickness, and the accuracy and alignment of the assembly fixture is compared to the CAD model using a laser tracker. Additional internal components of the horizontal tail, such as the wiring harness and trim-actuator housing, are also installed at this point, and then the other skin is bonded to complete the horizontal tail.


An ICON engineer operates a laser tracker to ensure proper alignment and accuracy of the assembly fixture during bonding of the A5’s horizontal tail. The laser tracker also serves to ensure that the assembly holes and trim lines are exactly placed by comparing the fixture to the CAD model.
An ICON engineer operates a laser tracker to ensure proper alignment and accuracy of the assembly fixture during bonding of the A5’s horizontal tail. The laser tracker also serves to ensure that the assembly holes and trim lines are exactly placed by comparing the fixture to the CAD model.

In parallel with the assembling and bonding of the horizontal tail, over 100 aircraft parts have been delivered at ICON’s Southern California facility. The ICON engineering team also continues to release drawings for shorter lead-time parts, molds, and assembly fixtures which will be required later in the assembly process.


ICON and Cirrus technicians remove the first wing skin from the mold at Cirrus’ Grand Forks, North Dakota, facility.
ICON and Cirrus technicians remove the first wing skin from the mold at Cirrus’ Grand Forks, North Dakota, facility.

ICON’s team has also started work on the composite components that comprise the wings and fuselage. The trimming, drilling, and bonding of the main wing spar, as well as the trimming and drilling of the wing skins, will take place in ICON’s Southern California facility. The assembly of the fuselage, canopy, and interior will follow in the coming weeks and months, including work on flight controls, landing gear, propulsion, and electrical systems. The horizontal tail and wing builds are progressing rapidly, and fuselage construction is scheduled to start before the end of February.

We look forward to updating you on the progress of final aircraft assembly and the first flight of ESN1, which will be a crucial step towards FAA approval and serial production of the ICON A5.