The Icon A5 seaplane that I wrote about in 2010 was on display at NBAA in Las Vegas. The price has gone up but at $250,000 it still costs less than an annual inspection on a more typical NBAA show aircraft. They had cut the price of a deposit from $5,000 to $1,000 as a “show special” (press release) and, for an aircraft ordered today, were promising delivery in 2019.
Icon is going to be selling more amphibious seaplanes to inexperienced pilots than any manufacturer in the history of aviation. Amphibious seaplanes are often fatally crashed when pilots land in the water with the wheels down (“dig in and flip”). Modern GPS units and software are smart enough to warn a pilot approaching terrain or an obstacle, making an exception for “lined up to approach a runway in the database.” Icon hasn’t shown any interest in tweaking this software to the point that it could warn the pilot about approaching a body of water with the wheels down.
It still looks like a nice toy, but a heavy two-seater with a 100 hp engine needs a fairly long water runway. This won’t be like an Aviat Husky on floats, getting off the water in a claimed 6 seconds from a floating start.
Icon was silent regarding the number of these planes that have actually been delivered.