Good for Goyer. Whole safety discussion is misleading hype.
It's funny how Icon gets such incredible press for everything they do when they have yet to produce an actual product. It's been 8 years! The real certified s lsa that does everything Icon claims to do already exists for many years but unlike the Icon it can actually be bought, owned and flown! It's called the SeaMax M22 ;-)
Gut Reaction: A self-aggrandizing and (arguably) somewhat misleading press release from a company affiliated with Vern Raburn? Surely you jest!
Measured Response: I didn't take much offense to this advertising "spin" either, but I think the "completely comply with" part is where the wheels go off the rails. "Complete" compliance with FAA Part 23 standards implies, at least to me, a formal acknowledgment of such from the FAA.
Bottom Line: A spin-resistant LSA is good news all around.
I agree with Mr. Goyer - the press release implies Part 23 certification, which implies FAA sign-off. When I read the release it raised such a question that I went to their web site to verify that it was an LSA.
It is somewhat disingenuous to suggest the same "type" of testing without disclosing in these self serving press releases the fact that the plane will NOT have FAA Part 23 oversight nor guidance. The purchase and sale agreement speaks volumes (as an attorney, this is where the "read the fine print" pays off). It says, quite plainly, under "Standard Aircraft Specifications" the following:
ASTM Standards: Aircraft will meet or exceed the requirements as established by the ASTM F2245 standard: “Standard for Specifications for Design and Performance of a Light Sport Airplane.”
Furthermore, the $5000.00 deposit is non-transferable and non-refundable and BINDING upon the purchaser even though the price hasn't been set yet! The braggadocio on the street is that they've secured hundreds of deposits. Using standard multiplication tables means that just 250 deposits equals 12.5 MILLION dollars! Also, one should be wary of a website that reaches out to "investors" when they haven't sold a single airplane yet...
My advice? Buy a Progrssive Aerodyne Searey Aphibian. Well proven, great flying, safe and affordable. I bought one in 1999 and flew it across the country from CA to CT. Kerry Richter and Progrssive Aerodyne would never issue a misleading press release like this. But then again, Kerry isn't worried about building non-refundable deposits or seeking more investors. His company is building airplanes you can fly...today.
Here's how it's misleading: Every single production aircraft manufactured under Part 23 meets Part 23's spin resistance standards. Here is a corrected, 100% accurate version of the release, which would have solved everything:
"ICON is proud to announce that the A5 will be the first production [Light Sport A]ircraft in history to be designed to and completely comply with the Federal Aviation Administration’s full-envelope Part 23 spin-resistance standards once production starts.”
2 words make a huge difference in meaning.
I have to admit that 40 years ago I was gullible enough to believe the "forward looking statements and optimistic outlook" press releases of a promising homebuilt aircraft kit designer / salesman. First came the promise of his inexpensive airplane as a kit. Then for an FAA certified / factory built version of the same little one man airplane. See FLYING Magazine, September 1973 for more about this popular airplane design.
I was not alone in placing an order for this airplane. More than 4,000 people bought "priority numbers" for future delivery. Most people paid in full. We believed.
Years went by, the promises went unfulfilled, the airplanes were never FAA certified or delivered. The company was bankrupt by the end of the 1970's.
With all we have learned from the history of airplane builders, it is still easy to be susceptible to the "forward looking statements and optimistic outlook" press releases of promising airplane designer/builders telling us what we want to hear. I guess we still want to believe. Especially if we have paid for a new airplane design that is overdue for delivery. I'm still waiting for delivery of mine.
Thank you Mr. Goyer for your concise essay on this issue. It has helped me to ascertain that my sense of smell is not failing me.
I've spoken with a few folks in the know about Icon's testing, and I'm incredibly impressed from what they've told me. Let me clarify. It sounds as though Icon is doing great stuff with spin-resistance. Getting rid of low speed accidents is a big deal, and I applaud them for that. The part that perturbed me and still does is the part that says that the A5 will comply with Part 23. That's the crux. It's impossible to comply, in my view, with Part 23 unless you actually go through Part 23 cert. That wording, which seemed very deliberate, goes too far. And it undercuts the REAL significance of what the program seems to be actually doing. The release is a disaster.
As Cessna found with the FlyCatcher, doing your own spin testing can be pretty expensive too!
I have seen too many manufacturers blow smoke and this is smoke.
The only way to be Part 23 is to do it. Self certification and testing is only that.
The real truth is that they say they will do the same spin resistant tests as required by Part 23 but are not going through the Part 23 process. Why try and lead is on?
Kudos to ICON for their accomplishment. Any Part 23 spin testing is much more ridgid than the vague spin requirements of ASTM 2245 in the LSA world. The iteration of the Skycatcher design is a reflection the challenges required to comply with Part 23 Subpart B standards which are acknowledged to be far in excess of what is required by ASTM compliance. It's refreshing to see companies concerned about their products and customers, not just accomplishing the bare minimums.