Fledgling airframer Icon is showing off the first production version of its A5 light sport aircraft this week at EAA AirVenture 2014 in Oshkosh, Wis. Unveiled at the show, engineering serial number 1 (ESN-1), is the first of the company’s aircraft to be built from the production design, using production tooling, methods and components.
“This is one of the most significant milestones to date for Icon. It represents the culmination of years of research, design, engineering and manufacturing dedication by an outstanding team,” said Icon Aircraft founder and CEO Kirk Hawkins. “The A5 is no longer a prototype or concept aircraft; it’s a sophisticated, production-ready, consumer-focused aircraft.”
ESN-1, which took five months to construct, made its first flight earlier this month and will be one of three aircraft used to verify performance ahead of next year’s anticipated certification. The second production prototype is expected to be completed later this fall, while the third aircraft in the test program will also be the first to be delivered to a customer.
To celebrate the completion of its first production aircraft, the manufacturer is auctioning off one the A5’s early production spots, which is scheduled to be delivered in early 2016. The company will donate a portion of the proceeds to Veterans Airlift Command, the nonprofit group that provides free air transport to post-9/11 combat wounded veterans and their families through volunteer aircraft and pilots.
Icon recently announced that it will relocate its engineering facility from Tehachapi, Calif., to a new 140,000-sq-ft manufacturing plant in Vacaville, Calif., beginning operations there early next year. Once at full production, the company expects to be able to produce more than 500 A5s a year.