Once the exclusive domain of search-and-rescue operations, the Coast Guard and denizens of Fantasy Island, the humble seaplane is making a big splash in the adventure travel sector as demand for greater access to remote destinations grows.
One model at the fore: the A5 from ICON, a svelte, single-prop plane that allows a max range of 450 miles and tackle surf, turf and sky with ease.
Founded by Stanford Graduate School of Business grad and former Air Force F-16 pilot Kirk Hawkins, ICON’s two-seat aerial roadster cruises at a languid 110 MPH and comes in a compact enough package that you can lug it behind an SUV (a custom towing trailer is included with purchase).
The Icon Experience 2:33
Featuring foldable wings, retractable landing gear, a spin-resistant frame and a high-visibility canopy, the A5 was created to appeal to the growing "light sport" market segment.
While it will never be confused with some of the larger models that were announced at last month’s Singapore Airshow, like Dornier’s 12-seat Seastar or Viking’s 19-seat 400S, the A5 is still drawing its fair share of attention, and ICON currently has 1,500 backorders for the $197k plane, with a three-year waiting list on the books as well.
Prospective pilots have to go through flight training and obtain a light sport certificate, but each one of the A5’s has a “complete air” parachute that’s capable of escorting the entire rig to ground safely.
Just in case.