Open Menu Close Menu

How to Handle an Engine Failure in the ICON A5

Of the accidents in general aviation, powerplant failures are exceedingly rare. Pilots are much more likely to land with their gear in the incorrect position than to encounter an engine failure in flight. But of course, losing an engine in flight can occur. Seconds matter when it comes to cockpit emergencies, making it imperative for pilots to have the procedures burned into their mind.

For non-pilots still becoming immersed in aviation, manufacturers (such as ICON) create an operating handbook (called a Pilot’s Operating Handbook or POH) that is legally required to be onboard an aircraft while in flight. Outlined within the POH are the procedures for a number of emergency scenarios, in this case, an engine-out failure in flight. You can view this procedure, and several others, below.

Many of you familiar with the ICON A5 recognize that it is a unique aircraft, which especially holds true as it relates to its engine-out procedures. Not only is the ICON A5 amphibious—it can land on most land and water surfaces as needed—but it’s analog Angle of Attack gauge is extremely well-suited for managing the energy state of the aircraft upon an engine failure.

Andy Jackson, ICON’s Flight Training Network Manager, is primarily responsible for instructing certified flight instructors (CFIs) on how to teach in the ICON A5. As demonstrated in the above video, during engine-out scenarios, pilots are able to rely almost solely on the ICON A5’s AoA gauge to maintain as much energy as possible, an energy-state most often referred to as the L/D MAX or the minimum drag speed. While flying the white line of the AoA gauge, the A5 is maximizing its glide distance by minimizing the drag on the aircraft—in essence, maximizing the energy state of the wings. Most “traditional” aircraft (Cessna 172, Piper PA-28, other LSAs) do not have an analog Angle of Attack gauge and use a pre-determined airspeed to estimate the L/D MAX. While this is meant to achieve the same result as flying the AoA white line, it is still an estimate and subject to a number of variables. The AoA gauge, however, is getting a direct reading of the energy-state of the wings, not simply the aircraft’s overall indicated airspeed, making it a much more accurate indicator of how much energy the aircraft is utilizing and what it could potentially be “wasting.” This is a potentially life-saving feature.

To understand some of the considerations ICON pilots make during engine-out scenarios, we hope you enjoy the 5-minute video above. As previously mentioned, the procedures demonstrated in the video can be found below and are taken from the ICON A5 POH.