Icon Secures Funding Through Production Start

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Icon Aircraft, which has been working for several years to bring its amphibious A5 LSA to market, this week announced it has secured $25 million in funding, enough to complete its engineering program, set up for manufacturing, and start production. "There is a lot of work and some risk still ahead," said CEO Kirk Hawkins. "That we were able to successfully raise funds in this time of economic uncertainty demonstrates Icon's unique and compelling market appeal." The A5 team is now finishing up the last few months of flight testing, and engineers are focused on finalizing a newly designed spin-resistant wing and refining directional stability, the company said. Production start is expected in the fourth quarter of 2012.

New investors in the California company include Eric Schmidt, the chairman of Google; Phil Condit, a former Boeing CEO; Satyen Patel, formerly the head of Nike in Asia, and Bart Becht, who will retire as CEO of the U.K. consumer products company Reckitt Benckiser in September. Patel and Becht have joined Icon's board of directors. Icon will receive $15 million initially, with an option for an additional $10 million. The company says it has an order book for nearly 500 aircraft, worth about $85 million. The airplane sells for about $139,000.