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How ICON Increased the Gross Weight on the A5

With the recent announcement of the 2024 ICON A5, current and future A5 Owners have an additional 60 pounds of useful load to enjoy while flying their aircraft. This brings the gross weight of the 2024 ICON A5 to 1,570 pounds and the useful load to 490 pounds.

As a reminder, useful load is defined as the usable fuel, oil, people, pilot(s), and baggage an aircraft can take on a flight. It is the empty weight of the aircraft subtracted from the maximum gross weight. The 2024 ICON A5 maintains an empty weight of 1,080 pounds, and with the new gross weight to 1,570 results in a useful load of 490 pounds.

As an illustration for what the A5’s increased gross weight now allows, see the below scenarios:

Scenario 1:

  • 4 to 5 hours fuel endurance (20 gallons of gas burning at ~4.5 gallons/hour)

  • Pilot weighing up to 200 pounds

  • Passenger weighing up to 150 pounds

  • 30 pounds of baggage

Scenario 2:

  • 2 to 3 hours fuel endurance (15 gallons of gas burning at ~4.5 gallons /hour)

  • Pilot weighing up to 250 pounds

  • 50 pounds of baggage

So how did ICON increase the useful load of the A5? In short, we spent two years testing and making slight modifications to the aircraft ensuring it was safe to set a higher “weight limit.”

Previous models of the A5 had a maximum gross weight of 1,510 pounds, which in total, provided a useful load of 430 pounds. There are a number of reasons why ICON originally settled on 1,510 pounds being the max gross weight for the A5. Many of you reading this are likely aware that the A5 has gross weight exemption, allowing the aircraft to exceed the amphibious LSA weight limit of 1,430 pounds. This is due to the spin-resistant airframe and ICON parachute system that comes standard with the aircraft.

Without getting into too much regulatory detail, ICON now has a much better understanding as to what the LSA category will allow compared to our initial flight testing in circa 2010. During our initial testing phase of the A5 over a decade ago, it was unclear what weight the FAA would exempt for the A5 i.e., how much further beyond the 1,430 gross weight limit would be allowed. Our team settled on 1,510 and did not largely test the A5 considerably beyond this threshold.

Today, given our customer’s desires to increase the useful load, our team has spent the past two years in R&D. Modeling aerodynamic stress at higher weights, and testing accordingly, has allowed us to increase the gross weight of the aircraft without going beyond the FAA LSA limit of a 45 KIAS stall speed.

The comprehensive testing included:

      • Rigorous takeoff and landing simulations to ensure the landing gear could support the additional load

      • Aerodynamic stress analysis

      • Considerable stall speed simulations in nearly every imaginable scenario; ensuring increased loads beyond 1,510 didn’t create any unforeseen issues with the A5 stall limits

All told, the gross weight increase requires minimum enhancements to the airflow over the ICON A5 wings, which can be accomplished by attaching additional vortex generators. Additionally, ICON is requiring the new 4-blade propeller from E-Props, as the bulk of our testing was conducted under this configuration. These modifications can be retrofitted to previous A5 models, but must be completed by ICON or one of its Authorized Service Providers.

If you have any questions about the performance of the ICON A5 or how to experience the new model for yourself, please connect with us by requesting a demo flight below.