You’re flying low above the water in an Icon A5, one of the relatively new breed of light-sport aircraft, when you spot some action. The wraparound windshield and the rear-mounted engine and propeller leave your sight line clear to spy a school of frolicking fish. You remember that your fishing gear is stored in the rear compartment, so you set the craft down, lift the cockpit enclosure and crawl out on the pontoons that double as a deck for a few hours of angling.
With your fresh catch, you decide to beach the plane and grill the fish on a nearby island. Then it’s off to your weekend retreat, where you can lower the landing gear and alight on a grass strip. It’s almost the stuff of futuristic hobby magazines, but the new aircraft designation is making the dream of an untethered personal airplane a reality for anybody with the $389,000 to set it aloft.
The A5 is a two-seater craft able to land on sea, turf or paved airstrip. And with a cruising radius of almost 500 miles, it’s perfect for weekend getaways. A few drawbacks are attendant with the light-sport designation, which limits size and forbids flying by instrument, so when the weather is bad you may be grounded. Even then, you’re not stuck. The wings fold up, and a single user can mount the plane to the Amphib Trailer (not included) for towing on roadways to your next destination.
Along the way you can gas up with 91-octane fuel. Not a pilot yet? With a spin-resistant airframe and a low stall speed as well as intuitive instrumentation (fly by joystick), it offers a speedy learning curve. Furthermore, the glide ratio is a comforting 9:1 (if it loses power a mile aloft it will glide for nine miles). And if worse comes to worst, the A5 carries a parachute, which will float the entire craft onto the ground.
The dream is here. Might as well get your head in the clouds.