Two Killed In Icon A5 Crash

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image: KTVU

image: KTVU

An Icon A5 amphibious light sport aircraft crashed about 9:20 a.m. on Monday along the shore of Lake Berryessa in Napa County, California, and two Icon employees were killed -- Jon Karkow, 55, the pilot in command of the aircraft, and Cagri Sever, 41, who was a passenger. It’s the first fatal crash for the design. The site, which is close to the company's training facility in Vacaville, is inaccessible by land, but authorities reached the wreckage via boat. The FAA and NTSB are investigating. 

Icon has not yet begun customer deliveries but has been offering flight training and demo flights from its flight centers. “It is with great sadness that I write this," Hawkins wrote by email on Monday afternoon. "Earlier today, two Icon employees were killed in an A5 accident while flying at Lake Berryessa, CA. We have no details on the cause of the accident right now ... The NTSB and FAA have been notified and Icon will be working closely with them to fully support their investigation." 

Karkow was well known in the industry and had come to Icon in 2007 after 21 years at Scaled Composites. At Scaled, he led more than 20 aircraft programs and five complete airplanes including the record-breaking, around-the-world Virgin GlobalFlyer, which won him a 2006 Aeronautics Laureate Award from Aviation Week & Space Technology. He also served as the technical program manager for SpaceShipTwo. A licensed airframe and powerplant mechanic, Karkow received a BS in Physics at Kenyon College and a BS in Aeronautical Engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. He was test pilot for the first flight of the Icon A5. He was an active pilot and experimental test pilot with instrument, multi-engine, seaplane, helicopter and glider ratings.

Sever had been with Icon only a couple of weeks, and until recently had been a manager of product design and development at Ford Motor Company. "This was a devastating personal loss for many of us," Hawkins continued. "The thoughts and prayers of our entire organization are with the families of both people onboard, they were both truly amazing individuals.” Officials said the two had been flying for only about 20 minutes before the crash.

Last month, an A5 aircraft was damaged in a hard landing, but the pilot and passenger escaped unharmed. AVweb will continue to update this story as more information is made available.

image: KRON-4

image: KRON-4

Comments (13)

"the company's purchase contract and associated ownership agreement, which give Icon control over the use and disposition of every aircraft sold for as long as the life-limited A5 flies (a 30-year or 6,000-hour maximum)"

So I'm guessing that Icon is therefore legally responsible to a large extent?

Posted by: Mark Fraser | May 8, 2017 5:14 PM    Report this comment

None of the A5 aircraft have been delivered to customers... the airplane was operated out of the Vacaville training facility, and both on board were Icon employees.

Posted by: Mary Grady | May 8, 2017 5:30 PM    Report this comment

Just pointing out how their "agreement" is as obviously flawed as either their own employees abilities or a seriously flawed basic design. That's 2 completely totaled Icons in just over a month! I don't relish their accidents but I do see how reality consistently bites those who ignore it. If Icon wants to survive with customers then they need to either get rid of that onerous agreement completely OR fix their aircraft design OR both. Just an honest opinion.

Posted by: Mark Fraser | May 8, 2017 8:58 PM    Report this comment

Wow, Jon Karkow? He's no 'hamburger' (as John Deakin might put it). Really sad day for all the reasons.

Like (most) everyone else, I'm waiting for the NTSB report. It'll be interesting to see how much digitial recording is available on such a modern aircraft. Maybe the equivalent of a 'black box' in details? Hopefully it will shed more light on what went wrong.

Posted by: Kirk Wennerstrom | May 9, 2017 5:51 AM    Report this comment

Sad day. Great people lost.

Posted by: Serena Ryan | May 9, 2017 10:01 AM    Report this comment

May their souls find peace.

Posted by: Rafael Sierra | May 9, 2017 12:37 PM    Report this comment

Sad news. My heart goes out to the families of the two deceased employees. It also goes out to the folks at ICON who are obviously in shock and are most likely self-questioning what happened.

I hope the flying community understands and supports the reason that the NTSB does not release speculative information until the analysis is completed. Seeing comments blaming anyone or any thing prior to that is disgusting, since they are rife with hurtful speculation. For those who get their kicks on doing so, please be like decent people and respect the families and all persons involved with ICON.

Posted by: Ron Wright | May 10, 2017 9:54 AM    Report this comment

Perfect weather, stall/spin resistant plane, ballistic parachute, good pilots, ends up in a near vertical descent fatality? It's not about blame, it's about yet another affirmation for politicians who want to ban small planes (especially in and around lakes and recreation areas) and neighborhoods that want to close small airports as being dangerous. If planes fail under the best of circumstances then anti-aviation people can make a logical and reasoned point that I will be unable to dispute.

Posted by: Mark Fraser | May 10, 2017 5:08 PM    Report this comment

A sad day for the Icon family.

The logical reasonable point is that just because someone is injured or killed in a car, horse, motorcycle, firearm, airplane or boating accident, does not immediately justify restricting access to those things. All recreational activity has risk for those engaged in the sport and sometimes, though rarely, to bystanders. It's extremely rare for people on the ground to be injured by an airplane. Most years that number is zero. It's a free country; be careful whose activity you call for restricting; the next activity might be your own.

Posted by: R Dant | May 10, 2017 6:23 PM    Report this comment

Here we had seasoned pilots in an aircraft that was SPECIFICALLY designed not to fall from the sky. It fell from the sky. The logical reasonable point is that low time amateur pilots would not be "safer".

Posted by: Mark Fraser | May 10, 2017 7:18 PM    Report this comment

Well, I think no airplane can be designed to not fall from the sky in extreme maneuvers. These pros were used to pushing these planes to the very edge to test the envelope, something most pilots do not do.

Posted by: R Dant | May 10, 2017 10:07 PM    Report this comment

Mark Fraser, Icon's "onerous contract" that you repeatedly mention is no more. It was re-written almost a year ago. The specific language you quote has been excised and replaced with a non-life limited airframe inspection requirement.

Nobody expects an airplane to "not fall from the sky". To expect such is to court disaster, and to profess such is folly and would not be possible in any case.

Posted by: All-Purpose Guru | May 11, 2017 3:37 AM    Report this comment

It was seriously onerous; which is why they had to re-write it to be "less onerous". It still places added (unnecessary) burdens on new owners and no other manufacturer that I know of does. Any manufacturer that makes you sign not to sue before they hand you the keys AND carry/maintain data recorders to that end is beyond reason(unless we see why they were so adamant on product liability; known design flaw?).

This plane fell from the sky with a seasoned pilot aboard and under perfect conditions. That gives credence to people who want to ban them in the resort area because even under ideal situations they may drop on your lake house. If they are loud, buzzing and also prone to closing the lake for investigations then people can and will close down such activities for the betterment of the 99.9%.

Posted by: Mark Fraser | May 11, 2017 8:59 AM    Report this comment

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