Icon Says A5 Is Ready to Enter Full-Rate Production

Mexico composite factory ramps up work as the California company plans for a pivotal 2018.

Icon A5
Icon Aircraft plans to unveil the 2018 A5 model in September and begin production of 10 aircraft per month in January.Flying

After a rough couple of years for Icon Aircraft, the California maker of the A5 light sport amphibian, the company now says it’s ready to turn its attention to high-rate production that should see as many as 200 airplanes produced and delivered in 2018.

Icon handed over the first six airplanes in June and July to customers in Washington, California, Montana and Texas, all of them part of the original 22 aircraft Icon built before halting production and announcing a one-year delivery pause in 2016 as it laid off workers, brought composite production work in-house and shifted its focus to pilot training.

Icon CEO Kirk Hawkins told Flying the 2018 model year A5 will appear in September, and by January the company plans to be building 10 airplanes a month.

“We’ll start ramping up production by the end of the year. We’re still running slow right now, but 2018 will be the year,” he said. “We will ramp as far as demand takes us. We’ve laid the foundation of the manufacturing infrastructure and process and tooling to be able to build a few hundred airplanes a year.”

Hawkins said Icon has about 1,850 deposit holders for the A5, a number that has held steady through the recent turmoil that included customer anger over a restrictive purchase agreement that has since been relaxed, the production halt and move of composite work to Mexico that followed and two A5 crashes, one in Miami early this year after a hard water landing and a fatal crash in Northern California that killed two Icon employees including chief test pilot John Karkow.

Despite the tragedy, Hawkins said Icon is now ready to turn the page and focus on getting the A5 into the hands of buyers. Pricing for the 2018 model year A5, which features a number of subtle “design improvements,” will be announced in the coming weeks, Hawkins said. The current price is $257,000.

Icon will continue to focus on flight training as well. The company opened a flight center in Tampa, Florida, which joins its Northern California center, and the two collectively have trained 125 students. As production picks up, Hawkins said Icon will be looking for instructors, who will go through training at either of the Icon-owned schools and then be approved to train pilots in their local area.