In 2004 the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) made a radical regulatory change by introducing a new aircraft category, the Light Sport Aircraft (LSA). This decision closed the gap between less sophisticated ultra-light aircraft and larger, commercial planes. Kirk Hawkins, a former US Air Force F-16 pilot and a flying enthusiasts, after hearing about these changes, set out to provide the world with what he feels is the democratization of aviation. ICON, founded by Hawkins in Sillicon Valley in 2006, has a vision of sharing the right to an exclusive product with everyone, in the same way that big companies like Apple, BMW, Ducati, or Oakley have done.
After years of development, good intentions, and consensus from the world’s top engineers and industrial designers, ICON launched the A5 in 2013. This first model is a two person aircraft that can travel on air and water. It weights 1,320 pounds, and can reach a top speed of 120 knots (138 mph). The A5, has retractable parts and folding wings that allow it to travel easily in family trips, as it can be towed by a sedan. ■