Icon Chief Test Pilot Killed in A5 Crash

Two employees died when the amphibious LSA crashed on the shoreline of Lake Berryessa near the company’s Northern California training center.

Icon A5 crash
An Icon A5 crashed on the shoreline of Lake Barryessa in Napa County, California, on May 8.KTVU

The Icon team out of Vacaville, California, suffered a tragic loss yesterday as two employees died in a crash on the shores of Lake Berryessa, where the company conducts water operations for its amphibious LSA, the A5. Lead engineer and chief test pilot Jon Karkow, and Cagri Sever, who recently joined the Icon team, were killed in the crash.

Prior to joining Icon, Karkow spent 22 years working as an engineer and test pilot with Burt Rutan’s Mojave, California-based Scaled Composites. There, he worked on more than 20 projects, including the record-breaking around-the-world Virgin GlobalFlyer. Karkow joined Icon in 2007. One of his many contributions to the program was the spin resistant and hydrodynamic design of the A5. Karkow also flew the first test flights of the proof-of-concept A5 and the production version of the airplane.

“Our industry lost one of its best and brightest today,” Icon’s founder and CEO, Kirk Hawkins, said of Karkow. “He was an unsung hero.”

“The thoughts and prayers of our entire organization are with the families of both people onboard,” Hawkins said. “They were both truly amazing individuals.”

Rescue teams found the fractured airplane by boat yesterday morning. Icon is now working closely with NTSB and FAA investigators to determine the cause of the crash.