Data Recorder Aids Icon Crash Probe


The NTSB’s final report on the fatal crash of an Icon A5 in a northern California lake in May is expected in the next few weeks and the speedy investigation was aided by information provided by the aircraft’s onboard flight data recorder. Icon CEO Kirk Hawkins said in an interview at AirVenture 2017 the cause of the crash has been determined by that data but he declined to disclose it until the NTSB makes its announcement. He did, however, suggest the report will clear the aircraft itself. “The aircraft is spin resistant but it’s not crash-proof,” he said. The company’s chief engineer, Jon Karkow, and a newly hired senior engineer, Cagri Sever, were on a demonstration flight with Karkow at the controls when the aircraft entered a narrow canyon and crashed on the shore of Lake Berryessa. Both were killed.

Hawkins said the flight data recorder gives a stream of data points, ranging from aircraft configuration to position and altitude, for all stages of the flight, and defended its mandatory equipage in the aircraft as a key investigative tool for accident investigators. “The facts of what actually happened are readily available,” he said. “We’re not going to use it to spy on you.”