ICON Aircraft, the California developer of the A5 amphibious sport airplane, announced receiving $25 million in additional equity funding that will allow the start-up company to complete engineering development work and enter production as early as next year.
The primary financing sources come from venture capitalists Satyen Patel, the former head of Nike’s Asia division, and Bart Becht, CEO of UK consumer products giant Reckitt Benckiser, with additional commitments from Google chairman Eric Schmidt, former Boeing chief executive Phil Condit, and “several” Silicon Valley investors. ICON will receive $15 million in funding initially, with an option for an additional $10 million if needed.
“We are honored to have the confidence, support, and enthusiasm of such great investors,” said Kirk Hawkins, ICON Aircraft’s CEO and founder. “That we were able to successfully raise funds in this time of economic uncertainty demonstrates ICON’s unique and compelling market appeal.”
Hawkins claimed ICON Aircraft currently holds an order backlog for nearly 500 aircraft valued at $85 million at list prices.
In conjunction with the financing, ICON also announced Patel and Becht as board members of the Los Angeles-based company.
Flight testing of the A5 is continuing at an “aggressive pace and is focused on finalizing the company’s newly designed spin-resistant wing, as well as refining directional stability,” the company said. “Flight testing is scheduled to conclude in the coming months. ICON continues to expand its engineering and manufacturing team to support the completion of the development program in 2011, as well as the transition to production in 2012. ICON has revised its production start date to the fourth quarter of 2012.”
With a base price of $139,000, the A5 is a two-person light-sport aircraft that features a flying-boat-type hull with a carbon fiber airframe and retractable landing gear enabling takeoffs from water or land. Power comes from a rear-facing 100 hp Rotax 912 engine, allowing for a useful load of between 430 and 530 pounds and a max cruise speed of 105 knots.