Icon Aircraft, manufacturer of the in-development amphibious A5 Light Sport Aircraft (LSA), announced at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh today that the FAA has granted an exemption for a gross weight increase for the A5 to accommodate added safety features, including a spin resistant airframe (SRA). Under Exemption Number 10829, the A5’s allowable takeoff weight will increase up to 1,680 pounds, though the initial production A5 will weigh 1,510 pounds, according to the Los Angeles-based company.
The A5 was intended to meet the 1,430-pound weight limit for amphibious LSAs, but the redesign for spin resistance added weight to the airframe. The company continued developing the SRA, “optimistic” that the FAA would grant a weight increase, company founder and CEO Kirk Hawkins told AIN. Icon applied for the exemption in May 2012, and after requesting additional documentation, the FAA concluded granting the waiver “is in the public interest.”
Aimed at the powersports rather than the LSA market, the A5 will be built in the U.S. Completion of the first four prototypes for use in certification testing is expected in the spring, with deliveries commencing in the middle to third quarter of next year. The price of the two-place aircraft has risen to $189,000 from the initially estimated $139,000 The company has orders for more than 900 aircraft (each backed by deposits of $5,000, or $2,000 if placed during AirVenture), one third of them from prospective purchasers with no aviation experience. Icon completed its fourth and final round of funding in June, raising $60 million for full-scale production from investors in North America, Europe and Asia.