In-Depth Look At The Icon A5 And The Company’s Production Reset


Icon has been on the general aviation scene for a full decade trying to gain traction for its innovative A5 amphibious light sport aircraft. In this video, AVweb takes a look at the Icon training programs, including a flight trial, and how the company hopes to retool in the face in elusive demand for a $389,000 airplane.

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  1. Elusive demand?
    If I had to chose between a flying jet ski OR a $400,000 yacht to enjoy the waterways….
    As a pilot I’d chose the yacht!

  2. This AvWeb video will be viewed by most all potential buyers. Yet, the CEO couldn’t even find the time to do a face-to-face with the interviewer (Paul). Worse then that, he did his interview on speaker phone with very poor quality audio.

    Whatever that CEO’s name is, he completely turned me off and I’m sure someone with a spare $400K will be questioning their purchase also. If this is the best Icon can do for representation they’ll be owned by the Chinese within two years.

    • Just to be clear, we were offered a factory tour and interview, but the time and timing didn’t work out. This was the best I could do given my time constraints. Icon is already owned by Chinese interests.

  3. I love the CEO “speak”. The reality is, Icon has the capacity to build 250 airplanes a year and production capabilities for up to 1,000 airplanes. However, at $389,000 per airplane that can only lift two 200lb adults allowing for 5-6 gallons of fuel making your $400,000 after tax flying “jet ski” a 30 minute novelty. $400,000 entry point for a 30 minutes of splash time to be shared, or flying solo, to gain some useful range of up to 3-3.5 hours has drastically taken the shine off the proverbial apple.

    100 owners have already purchased but got into the game at less than the current price ( minus the ones already wrecked). But it is clear at 5 airplanes per month translating to 60 airplanes per year, even those projected numbers are based on an “elusive demand”.

    Their only financial viability will be using that excess capacity to construct perhaps, license built “jet ski’s” for Polaris or bass boat hulls for Bass Tracker. Both are trailer-able, no need to fold wings, require no medicals, fit into the average garage, will get you wet,and can carry more than two 200LB adults for $6995 to $30K…many with top speeds in excess of 85kts.

    Another option would be to make parts for Strato-Launch and enter another fantasy market for $389,000 thirty minute space flights. Then Icon could market the idea that for $389,000 you can do it more than once, reusing the vehicle providing you don’t dork it in the water, run it into rising terrain, land it on water gear down, and are willing to go back to the dock every 30 minutes if you need to share your winged watercraft with a friend for more fuel.

    Indeed, that would be “elusive demand”.

  4. The Icon is a beautiful airplane, but way above my paygrade. So I built a Searey. As Paul mentioned, the Searey is comparable to the Icon in performance and also in the potential for landing on the water with the gear down. This usually ends up with the airplane on its back. It has happened with both the Searey and the Icon. Now in all the videos I’ve seen of the Icon, including this one, no one is wearing a PFD (Personal Floatation Device). A life jacket. In my humble opinion this is plain foolish and dangerous. I think Icon’s demo pilots and instructors ought to change their thinking and insist that all occupants wear a PFD. Bad things can, and have, happen.

  5. It would appear that Icon’s flight dept have a different idea about safety…from the early sales videos flying low, cranking and banking…(no surprise when the baseball player crashed) to their very own flat ops head killing himself and a new employee in a blind canyon..

  6. Very nice video. I have some questions because Icon’s numbers don’t add up.

    Earlier this year Icon already had an output to 4-5 units per month. According to GAMA shipments, this is true. If they are further reducing output, their output is around 2 per month.

    In Icons Mexico factory video we can see limited fixturing is used – meaning the A5 is extremely labor intensive. To produce 4-5 Icon needed over 700 employees. To produce 2-3 it needs 400 employees.

    Now to produce 1000 per year? At roughly 15 people per unit of output per year Icon would need 15,000 employees. Now think able the cost of materials. Just on these conditions, ICON is not turning a profit, ever.

    Icon is not trying to sell airplanes. It trying to sell itself to a new schmuck investor.