Thursday, May 11, 2017

Icon A5 Amphibious Plane Crashes, Killing 2 Company Engineers

(Popular Mechanics)

Tragedy has struck one of the hopeful new companies trying to invent the future of aviation. On Monday an Icon A5 crashed next to Lake Berryessa in northern California. The disaster killed Icon lead engineer Jon Karkow and his colleague, Cagri Sever.

We don't yet know the cause of the crash. The National Transportation Safety Board will be investigating that. CEO Kirk Hawkins published the following statement on the company's Facebook page.

I flew in an A5 two years ago when Icon brought the aircraft to New York for media test rides on the Hudson River. It is a gorgeous bird and a joy to experience. The $200,000 small amphibious plane is meant to make flying fun and accessible for people who might be put off by traditional small planes. Its simple dash looks more like a car's. Karkow built the plane to be remarkably foolproof and user-friendly, with the design resistant to spins and stalls.

As I wrote then, though, this is still a small plane, and deadly amateur piloting accidents are all-too-frequent. We need to know more about how the pair were testing the A5, but beyond the sadness of this disaster, it's worrisome indeed for the company that an aircraft billed as so safety-conscious suffered a devastating crash with Icon's own engineers at the controls.

Icon had already been struggling before the crash, having lowered its initial production estimates and laid off workers recently. We hope to know more about the cause of the accident soon-and hope it doesn't doom Icon's dream of making the wonder of flying a plane more accessible.

(Andrew Moseman - Popular Mechanics)

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