I’m excited. Flying is about having fun and the Icon A5 Seaplane promises to deliver more fun than most planes. But there’s more to the airplane than just fun. As a new video shows, it’s also a spin resistant plane that could make flying safer.
Spin resistance isn’t new. One of the earliest planes to claim that it was spin proof and hence safer was the Ercoupe. First built in the 1930s, many are still flying today. Sadly, although it was less likely to spin, that didn’t stop people from crashing the plane.
But spin resistant technology has improved and the Icon A5 remains stable in flight, even when the controls are held in a position that induces a spin in other aircraft. That can be clearly seen in Icon’s new video in which they fly an A5 next to a Cessna 150 as the pilots try to induce a spin. The 150 pilot has no trouble getting into a spin almost immediately. Instead of spinning, the A5 just mushes down in a stall at about 1000 feet per minute.
A tail-mounted camera tells the story. Look at the still image that I captured from the video. Strings of yarn are taped all over the aircraft. Those nearest the wing root aren’t straight and show where the stall is fully developed. Yet those near the aileron are perfectly straight and show that laminar airflow still exists at the ends of the wings. Keeping the ailerons in laminar flow helps keep them effective throughout the stall.
The Icon A5 will also have an angle-of-attack gauge, something rarely found in GA aircraft. The benefit is that it gives a clear visual indication of an impending stall, regardless of aircraft attitude, speed and weight. An optional parachute can lower the plane to the ground in the event of an emergency. As a Cirrus flight instructor, I’ve become very fond of parachutes in aircraft.
It’s hard to believe it’s been exactly four years since I wrote my first story on the Icon A5. In the meantime, I’ve become a seaplane owner and seaplane instructor and know first hand how much fun it is to play with an aircraft on the water. One of my clients has an A5 on order and I can’t wait to fly one. The only question now is…will they take a Lake Buccaneer in trade for a new A5?