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Icon A5 aircraft billed as an aeronautical 'game-changer'

The new plane from Icon Aircraft will set you back a cool quarter of a million dollars.

By Matthew Shaer / October 15, 2009



Like everyone else in this cash-strapped economy, you've probably got a quarter of a million bucks spilling out of your dresser drawer. Right? And what better to spend that money than on a "rigorously tested" personal aircraft called the Icon A5?

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The Icon A5 hit the headlines today after the plane's creator, Icon Aircraft, won a chance to pitch a business plan to Richard Branson, the chairman of the Virgin Group. The pitch session is scheduled for Oct. 26, at the Perfect Pitch 2009 Conference in California.

We imagine the folks at Icon will be eager to tell Richard about the eminently affordable Icon A5. But what exactly is this thing? Well, according to some copy from the Neiman Marcus catalog, the "game-changing" A5 is a personal aircraft with an amphibious hull and landing gear. (Testing video below.)

It's just perfect for landing on the surface of your own private lake.

The plane was designed by "a world-class team of engineers and designers who helped create the groundbreaking Virgin Global Flyer and X Prize-winning SpaceShipOne," Neiman Marcus notes. "It's been rigorously tested, meets or exceeds all FAA standards, production is about to begin, and the waiting list is stacking way up."

The A5 comes tricked out with a 100-hp, liquid-cooled powerplant, capable, Icon says, of achieving up to 25-mpg fuel efficiency. You'll need about 20 hours of sports pilot training before getting behind the yoke of the A5 – but don't count on pulling any mid-air stunts. The A5 hasn't been rated for that.

Some other facts:

• The A5 can probably reach a maximum altitude of 15,000 ft., but FAA rules limit altitude on sport planes to 10,000 ft.
• The aircraft takes both automotive and aviation gasoline.
• Pack light: The A5 can't hold more than 1,430 pounds in gross weight, including people, luggage and fuel.
• Neiman Marcus prices the plane at $250,000. But Icon's website offers it for $139,000.

[Editor's note: The original version of this story misstated where the Perfect Pitch 2009 Conference will take place. It will be held in Marina del Rey, Calif. Also, the post has been updated to include the reduced price offered direct from Icon.]

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