The Icon amphibious light sport aircraft flew for the first time last week, the company announced on Tuesday. It launched from a lake in Southern California. "Everything went as well as an initial test flight possibly could go," said Jon Karkow, lead engineer and test pilot, who in the past worked on the Virgin Atlantic GlobalFlyer project. "The aircraft flew exceptionally well and met or exceeded our design expectations... I was especially pleased with the water handling." The company said it expects to continue to test and modify the aircraft for another year or so before building a pre-production prototype for certification purposes. The aircraft has attracted considerable attention with its nifty electric wing-folding design, which has been demonstrated on a mock-up. The flying prototype features a manual folding wing. Both the prototype and the mockup will be exhibited at EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh on July 28.
The Icon is made of carbon fiber and is powered by a 100-hp Rotax 912 ULS engine, which can run on either auto gas or avgas. Estimated price for the standard model is $139,000, with deliveries expected to begin in late 2010.