ICON A5 Among Aircraft To Appear at Detroit Auto Show

Annual show’s new Air Mobility Experience will include eVTOLs, a jet suit, and a hoverbike.

The ICON A5 is slated to give flight demonstrations over the Detroit River during the city’s international auto show next month. [Courtesy: ICON Aircraft]

Aircraft manufacturers will take over a section of the North American International Auto Show, known traditionally as the Detroit Auto Show, that begins next month. As part of an Air Mobility Experience, companies ranging from ICON Aircraft to Omni Hoverboards will highlight the intersection of automotive and aviation principles in some of the latest personal transport developments. 

The new program, also called the “Show Above the Show,” will include displays on the ground and flight demonstrations over the Detroit River from several producers of personal flying machines including eVTOLs, a hoverbike, and a jet suit. 

Such a large aviation presence at this long-standing annual car show illustrates a coming together of aeronautical and automotive technologies that has recently redefined people’s expectations of what a “flying car” can be. It also reflects increased interest in eVTOL and other aviation developments among car makers. Recently a number of car companies including Honda, Hyundai,  Renault and Stellantis, formerly FiatChrysler, have announced air mobility projects and partnerships.

“This exciting addition to the show is a natural extension of the evolving transportation ecosystem, especially as people continue to look for creative ways to expand personal mobility,” Detroit Auto Show chairman Joe Lunghamer said in a statement. “We’ll give auto show audiences a taste of the future today with a look at the whole spectrum of mobility—from the thrill of human propulsion to amphibious vehicles you can keep in your backyard to EVs leading the industry’s transformation,” he added.

Companies showing their wares include ICON Aircraft, which will demonstrate its A5 amphibious light sport seaplane; AIR, from Tel Aviv, Israel, which is developing the AIR ONE two-seat eVTOL, and Airspace Experience Technologies, based in Detroit, which will display its Sigma-6 eVTOL, designed to be “a clean, fast, and affordable transportation alternative.” 

Aerwins Technologies of Wilmington, Delaware, and A.L.I. Technologies of Tokyo will demonstrate their XTURISMO, a hoverbike “inspired by the speeder bikes in ‘Star Wars.’” Gravity Industries from the U.K. will show its jet suit, which is said to put out 1,000 horsepower, and Omni Hoverboards of Montreal, Canada, will demonstrate its eVTOL hoverboard.

Flight demonstrations of the XTURISMO, Gravity Jet Suit, ICON A5, and Omni Hoverboard begin on media day, September 14, and run through September 18. Air Mobility displays and experiences featuring AIR ONE, ASX’s Sigma-6, and the ICON A5 will take place inside Huntington Place during the run of the show, from September 14 to 25. 

Show organizers said they will release a full schedule of flight demonstrations and display dates and times soon.

Jonathan Welsh is a private pilot who worked as a reporter, editor and columnist with the Wall Street Journal for 21 years, mostly covering the auto industry. His passion for aviation began in childhood with balsa-wood gliders his aunt would buy for him at the corner store. Follow Jonathan on Twitter @JonathanWelsh4

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