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 wasdamagedin a hard landing, but the pilot and passenger escaped unharmed.AVwebwill continue to update this story as more information is made available.