Frequently Asked Questions
What exactly defines an LSA?
The FAA defines an LSA as any aircraft that can meet the following performance criteria:
- Two occupants maximum
- 1320 lbs max gross weight (1430 lbs for seaplanes) *ICON has been granted a weight exemption by the FAA allowing a gross weight of up to 1680 lbs. See ICON FAA Exemption section for more information
- Single engine (non-turbine)
- 120 kts (138mph) max level flight speed
- 45 kts max stall speed
- Fixed landing gear (retractable allowed for seaplanes)
Can a Private Pilot fly an LSA?
Yes. Anyone holding a Sport Pilot License or higher can fly an LSA.
What is an S-LSA?
S-LSA stands for Special Light Sport Aircraft. S-LSA are factory built and delivered in a ready-to-fly condition with no assembly required by the owner. The ICON A5 is an S-LSA and will be delivered in ready-to-fly condition. It is not available as a kit.
Can an LSA be flown at night?
Yes, if the pilot holds at least a Private Pilot License and the aircraft is properly equipped for night flight in accordance with FAR Part 91.205 (c).
What are the prerequisites to seek a Sport Pilot License (SPL)?
Four criteria apply:
- Must be at least 17 years of age to take the FAA Practical Test (can begin training at age 16).
- Must have a valid state driver’s license OR 3rd Class Medical.
- Must be proficient in the English language.
- Requires either a third-class FAA Medical Certificate or a valid U.S. driver’s license as evidence of medical eligibility (provided the individual’s most recent application for an FAA Medical Certificate was not denied, revoked, suspended, or withdrawn).
What are the elements of completing the training for an SPL?
Three things must be completed:
- Must pass the FAA Sport Pilot written exam.
- Must complete all required Sport Pilot flight training from an FAA-Certified Flight Instructor.
- Must pass an FAA Oral and Practical Examination with an FAA Examiner (i.e., “Check-ride”).
Do I need an FAA Medical Certificate to become a Sport Pilot?
No. As per FAA regulations, Sport Pilots are required to have EITHER:
- a minimum of an FAA 3rd Medical Certificate, or
- a valid Driver’s License as evidence of medical fitness. Any limitation on a driver’s license must also be complied with while acting as a Sport Pilot.
Additionally, it is important to note that the SPL is not intended as a workaround to a known medical condition. The FAA prohibits anyone who knows of, or has a reason to know of, a medical condition that would make them unable to operate the aircraft in a safe manner from operating under an SPL. For further information please visit the FAA’s additional Sport Pilot Medical FAQs. (http://www.faa.gov/licenses_certificates/medical_certification/sportpilots/)
What are the requirements to obtain a Sport Pilot License?
The following are requirements for an SPL:
- At least 20 hours of flight time, including at least 15 hours of flight training from an authorized instructor, of which at least two hours are cross-country flight training.
- Ten takeoffs and ten landings to a full stop (with a traffic pattern) at an airport.
- Three hours of flight training in preparation for the practical flight test (completed within 60 days of the practical flight test).
- At least five hours of solo flight time in a single-engine airplane, including at least one solo cross-country flight of at least 75 nautical miles, with landings at a minimum of two points, and one leg of at least 25 nautical miles.
- A valid U.S. driver’s license (not under suspension or revocation) or a third-class Medical Certificate issued by an approved Medical Examiner.
What airspace limitations are there for a Sport Pilot?
A Sport Pilot may not operate in Class A airspace (airspace above 18,000 MSL). A Sport Pilot must have an endorsement to operate in Class B, C, or D airspace. The majority of the low altitude U.S. airspace below a few thousand is “uncontrolled,” virtually unutilized, and completely open to Sport Pilots.
Can a Sport Pilot fly in IFR (Instrument Flight Rules) conditions?
No. A Sport Pilot may not act as Pilot in Command (PIC) in IFR conditions.
Can a Sport Pilot fly at night?
No. A Sport Pilot may not act as PIC at night. “Night” is defined as end of civil evening twilight to beginning of morning civil twilight (approximately 30 minutes after sunset and 30 minutes before sunrise).
As a Sport Pilot, do I need a seaplane rating, Single-Engine Sea (SES), to fly an LSA amphibian?
No. Flying an amphibian LSA does not require an additional seaplane rating; however, you would need to complete a Proficiency Check for operating the aircraft in a water environment. Then, a certified flight instructor (CFI) will add an endorsement to your logbook verifying that you have received the appropriate training and are qualified to operate an A5 in a water environment. This Proficiency Check will be included in the baseline ICON Flight Training curriculum for both beginner and existing landplane transition pilots.
If I already have a Private Pilot License with a Single-Engine Land (SEL) rating, do I need a Sport Pilot License or any additional training to fly the A5?
If you are already a Private Pilot holding a seaplane rating (SES), you will simply need to complete a brief ICON transition training course for the A5. If you are a Private Pilot or higher and do not hold a seaplane rating, you will need to complete transition training and a Proficiency Check to receive a logbook endorsement to operate the A5 in a water environment.
Where is ICON headquartered?
ICON Aircraft’s headquarters are in Vacaville, CA, 50 miles North of San Francisco.
Where is the A5 produced?
The A5 is painted and assembled at ICON’s production facility in Vacaville, CA. ICON builds the composite components of the A5 at its Mexico facility in Baja California.
Do you entertain customer visits to your facility?
Yes. Contact a Product Specialist to schedule a tour if you are in the area.
What is the construction of the A5?
The airframe is lightweight, high-strength composite material comprised of carbon fiber that is corrosion resistant, which is preferred for amphibious planes and seaplanes.
What is meant by “amphibian” – can the A5 land on both land and water?
Yes. The A5 is amphibious, so it can land and takeoff from either water or land due to the boat hull design and retractable landing gear.
How many passengers can the A5 carry?
According to FAA rules, an LSA is limited to the pilot and one passenger.
What is the “useful load” of the A5?
The initial A5 configuration will have a useful load (people + luggage + fuel) of 430 pounds. Later variants may permit a useful load of up to 550 pounds based on how the aircraft is equipped.
Why did ICON choose to include an angle of attack (AoA) indicator?
An angle of attack indicator provides the pilot with a direct indication of the wing’s performance, as measured by the angle between the aircraft’s longitudinal axis relative wind. Since a wing stalls at the same angle of attack regardless of airspeed or weight, the pilot is able to rapidly assess wing performance during any phase of flight simply by referencing the AoA indicator. This capability is particularly useful during landing and maneuvering.
Can the A5 be flown in Instrument Meteorological Conditions?
No. Per FAA accepted ASTM consensus standard F2245-13b, S-LSAs are limited to VFR flight.
Can the A5 be flown at night?
FAA regulations do allow for a Private Pilot to fly an LSA at night, if properly equipped. With the night lighting package, the A5 is legal for night VFR flight operations.
Can the windows be removed? Is it possible to remove them during flight?
Yes, the side windows are removable. The windows should not be removed while airborne for safety reasons.
What is the max crosswind component for the A5?
The demonstrated limit of the A5 is 12 knots.
Will I fit in the A5?
The rudder pedals adjust fore and aft to accommodate various pilot height dimensions. The A5 was designed to accommodate pilots from the 50th percentile female to the 95th percentile male. This translates into a 42.6-inch head clearance (distance from the compressed seat cushion to the headliner). People as tall as 6′5″ (196cm) can fit comfortably in the A5, but it will depend on the build and torso length of the individual.
Is there a baggage storage compartment in the A5?
Yes. There is a baggage stowage area directly behind the pilot and passenger seats of the A5. The space is rated to carry up to 60lbs of baggage not to interfere with the pilot’s visibility or flight controls.
Can the A5 be flown from a traditional airport with a hard surface runway?
Yes. While the A5 is designed more for adventures away from airports, it can be flown into any airport or airfield from small strips to the largest international airports.
Can the A5 be flown from grass or unimproved strips?
Yes. The A5 is a lightweight aircraft that requires very little runway surface to operate. The A5 can be flown from paved surfaces or relatively smooth grass, dirt, or gravel surfaces.
What size body of water is required to operate a seaplane?
The FAA recommends that bodies of water designated as seaplane bases be at least 2,500 feet long by 200 feet wide, with a depth of three feet or more, and are free of floating debris or submerged obstacles. In addition, a 20:1 glide path to the landing lane is the recommended minimum for obstacle clearance.
How do I know if the body of water I want to operate on is approved?
The Seaplane Pilots Association (www.seaplanes.org) is a valuable resource for determining where seaplane operations are permitted. Now in its 10th edition, their Water Landing Directory (http://www.seaplanes.org/mambo/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=122&Itemid=235) provides a single reference tool for waterway-use regulations. You may also call the appropriate regulatory agency for the body of water being considered. In general, the USCG considers all waterways it controls open to seaplanes. Once on the water, a seaplane must obey the appropriate rules for a boat.
What is the environmental impact of seaplanes?
Seaplanes do not significantly impact the environment and compare favorably to conventional motorized boats in areas of air and water pollution, wakes, and disturbance of plants, wildlife, and sediments.
Can the A5 taxi out of the water on a ramp under its own power?
Yes. The A5 has demonstrated its ability to taxi out of the water and up a boat ramp, maintaining good directional control. The maximum recommended gradient for the ramp is 9.6% with the wings in the extended position.
What is the highest acceptable wave for operation in water?
The pilot operating handbook (POH) limit on wave height for the A5 is 12 inches.
Can the landing gear be lowered in water?
Can the A5 be operated in salt water?
Yes. There are no set limits on saltwater operation; however, ICON does recommend that following any operation in salt water, the A5 exterior be given a freshwater rinse. In addition, the A5 should not be allowed to sit in salt water for prolonged periods due to saltwater’s corrosive nature.
A5 Power Plant
What engine does the A5 use?
The ICON A5 is currently equipped with the Rotax 912 iS Sport engine. The 912 is the most common engine in the LSA category (more than 170,000 Rotax aircraft engines have been sold since 1973). The Rotax 912 iS Sport is a fuel-efficient, 4-cylinder, 4-stroke, 100 hp, liquid- and air-cooled powerplant (liquid-cooled heads, air-cooled cylinders).
What type of fuel does the Rotax 912 iS Sport use?
For flexibility off airport, the Rotax 912 iS Sport burns either automotive (91 octane) or aviation gasoline (100LL avgas).
What is the average fuel burn?
The A5 consumes 3.8 gallons per hour in cruise conditions.
Is the folding wing a standard feature on the A5?
The manual folding wing design is currently a standard feature in all A5 aircraft although it may become optional in the future.
Is 20 hours enough training to pilot a plane?
The FAA requires a minimum of twenty hours to obtain a Sport Pilot License. Sport Pilots still get the required level of training needed for the conditions in which they’re allowed to fly: daytime, good weather, and in uncontrolled airspace. In fact, Sport Pilots receive training more specifically tailored for their recreational flying needs. Some would argue that the Sport Pilot training may actually be a safer, better-suited initial training program since it’s focused more on basic airmanship and good visual flying skills versus transportation-focused systems management.
The ICON Sport Pilot Course allots up to 30 hours of flight training to complete the course. Keep in mind that some students may require additional training as students are trained to proficiency.
What is ICON doing to ensure safety?
Our engineers designed the ICON A5 to be predictable and easy to fly with safety features such as a Spin-Resistant Airframe (SRA), patent-pending Seawings™ Platforms, planing wingtips, and quick-deploying Complete Aircraft Parachute, allowing pilots to fly with peace of mind.
How does the parachute work?
The Complete Aircraft Parachute technology is a technology that has been on the market for more than 20 years and has been credited with nearly 300 lives saved. The parachute is housed inside the wing of the aircraft and is rocket-deployed. The pilot initiates the parachute deployment by simply pulling the clearly marked handle on the overhead console. The parachute fully deploys in seconds and lowers the airplane to the ground under canopy.
What is spin resistance?
Spin resistance is a design feature of an airframe that reduces the aircraft’s tendency to spin when it encounters the conditions that would typically cause a light aircraft to enter a spin (a simultaneous combination of yaw and stall). It is a dramatic safety advancement that can significantly reduce accidents from stall/spins, which are the leading cause of pilot-related fatal accidents in general aviation (the cause of 41% of pilot-related fatal accidents according to the AOPA Air Safety Institute’s 2010 Nall Report).
A spin is a dangerous combination of a stall and yaw that results in a very high descent rate. Unintentional spin entries are especially unforgiving at low altitude where sport flying tends to occur, so ICON chose to make the A5 spin-resistant rather than spin-recoverable. Spin resistance has been an elusive goal for aircraft manufacturers for decades. When the A5 entered production, it became the first conventional production aircraft that is spin-resistant as measured by the standards defined by the FAA. To learn more about spins and spin resistance, visit this link: About Spins and Spin Resistance
To learn more about ICON’s spin-resistance program, visit this link: Behind the Scenes of ICON’s Spin- Resistance Program
Has the A5 been certified?
Light Sport Aircraft are not certified by way of FAR Part 23 certification measures but rather audited to meet the ASTM standards set forth for FAA Light Sport Aircraft. ICON Aircraft and the A5 successfully completed the FAA audit for S-LSA production on June 15th 2015.
What exemption did ICON apply for and why?
ICON petitioned the FAA for an exemption to the FAA’s gross weight limit of 1430 pounds. The exemption request was in order to create a spin-resistant aircraft while providing additional safety features. Spin resistance addresses stall/spin loss-of-control accidents, which are the cause of 41% of all pilot-related fatal accidents.
To learn more about spins and spin resistance, visit this link: About Spins and Spin Resistance
To learn more about ICON’s spin-resistance program, visit this link: Behind the Scenes of ICON’s Spin-Resistance Program
What is the exemption ICON received from the FAA?
The exemption allows for an increased gross weight for ICON’s A5 amphibious Light Sport Aircraft (LSA). The exemption accommodates, among other safety features, a Spin-Resistant Airframe, which enables the A5 to better avoid loss-of-control scenarios due to stall/spins. FAA stated, “The FAA determined that granting relief from the MTOW (Maximum Takeoff Weight) for LSA for this specific safety enhancement is in the public interest and is also consistent with the FAA’s goals of increasing safety for small planes.”
If I placed an order today, what would my delivery date be?
Please contact ICON Sales to discuss expected delivery dates.
When will final performance specifications for my aircraft be available?
Current performance specifications are available online and in the deposit agreement. Performance specifications will be updated in the Aircraft Purchase Agreement if they change, so you will have the opportunity to review them before committing to your aircraft and making your first payment.
What options are available on the A5?
Please see Exhibit B of the Deposit Agreement for a list of current options (http://d1iq6rv15e5no7.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/Exhibit-B-Standard-150720.pdf)
Do I order directly from ICON, or do you have a dealer network?
At this time, all orders are direct with ICON, either online (www.iconaircraft.com) or by contacting ICON Sales directly at 707-564-4100.
How will you deliver the A5?
ICON will offer a variety of delivery options, which will be available for review upon receipt of the Production Notice.
Are customer demonstration flights available?
Is financing available for my A5 purchase?
Yes. 20% down payment with remainder financed at closing. Rates are approximately 5% and terms of 10-15 years are available. Contact sales for more information.
Who can provide insurance for my A5 and how much does it cost?
Annual premiums for liability insurance vary depending on the type of aircraft insured and a pilot’s experience. ICON is in discussions with several insurance providers who are interested in working with ICON customers. Please call ICON Sales for a referral before contacting a broker on your own for the best possible rates.
A5 Service and Support
What type of warranty will be offered with the A5?
The ICON A5 carries a Limited Warranty that covers, subject to its limitations, exclusions and conditions, the aircraft for one year and certain components for longer.