Icon, Sherpa Move Forward With New Airplanes
The aviation industry may be going through tough times right now, but that's not stopping entrepreneurs from moving forward with new projects. Icon Aircraft, based in southern California, announced this week that its Icon A5 amphibious light-sport aircraft has completed its phase-one flight testing. The A5 has a folding-wing design to make it easier to store or transport by trailer, and was created by a team that included automobile designers as well as aircraft engineers who previously worked at Scaled Composites. So far, the aircraft has completed a series of 27 flights, and data was gathered across a wide range of speeds, gross weights, centers of gravity, flap settings, altitudes and sea states. "While there are areas to be further optimized, as with any flight test program, the A5, overall, performed as designed and is a blast to fly," reported lead engineer and test pilot Jon Karkow. The A5 prototype demonstrated exceptional water stability and handling, easy takeoff and landing performance, as well as light control forces with responsive yet docile flight characteristics, the company said. The estimated base price of the A5 is $139,000, and deliveries are scheduled to begin in late 2010.
At Sherpa Aircraft, in Scappoose, Ore., the company is moving forward with flight testing of its prototype turboprop eight-place utility aircraft. The versatile taildragger can take off and land in about 100 feet, the company says, and carry a useful load of up to 3,000 pounds. The first 12 Sherpas will be sold in kit form and produced under a builder-assist program at the Oregon site. Base price for the Sherpa with a factory-remanufactured 5400 TBO Honeywell-5 engine ready to fly is $850,000. The airplane comes equipped with tundra tires, with fittings for skis and floats as standard equipment.