Foldable sports plane gives Everyman a chance at crashing
Turning jet-setters into jet-getters?
If what's keeping you from buying your own personal ultralight aircraft is lack of garage space and a USB plug on the plane's dash for your iPod — you are certainly in luck.
Los Angeles startup ICON Aircraft this week unveiled its A5 ultralight "sport plane," which the company hopes will open a new market made up of amateur pilots zipping around the skies with style.
Concept art — what, no reflective black effect?
Yes, you see, in 2004 the US Federal Aviation Administration created a new classification of Sport Pilot licenses that only requires 20 hours of in-flight training, no medical check, and half the cost of a traditional private pilot's license.
With the piloting bar set to an unprecedented low (not seen since they let a couple of bicycle repairmen tool around Kitty Hawk, North Carolina) companies such as ICON are looking to get rich.
"Son, let me tell you something: Fuck hiking."
ICON focuses on special touches that are time-tested to appeal to the mass market — namely looking good and not killing the operator.
The two-seater A5 includes an "intuitive," sports car-like cockpit with a MP3 player port, runs on both auto and aviation gasoline, and sports retractable wings that make the plane fit snugly in a large garage.
It's also got safety kit such as a propeller guard and a whole-airframe parachute for those times when finding a landing strip is too damn inconvenient.
Should have saved up for the gas
ICON CEO Kirk Hawkings says the aircraft brings the "freedom, fun and adventure back into aviation." [Note: apparently at some point, piloting a regular personal aircraft has become — yawn — way too boring.]
The plane starts at $139,000 with initial models scheduled to be delivered in late 2010.
That's assuming things go well when the full-scale prototype begins flight tests this summer. Look to the sky — if you see a ball of screaming death and fire plummeting from above you'll know it's time to seek a refund on the required $5,000 deposit.
There's more about the plane at Popular Mechanics including a video of its unveiling. (Warning: Audience comments about the plane such as "This would be perfect for the Bahamas," will make you extremely bitter if you are going home to a studio apartment and peanut butter sandwich dinner.) ®
Give people the ability to make intelligent comments on a web site, and they do the exact opposite.
Really people... we aren't talking about individuals like yourself or your friends (who think making stupid cracks on a web site is a genius way of passing time)giving motion to these craft. We are talking about educated people with the means to afford it, and also the ability to pass a menial albiet some type of certification test.
Now... back to your drollish comments which could be thought of by a 9 year old.
Terrible idea for other people
...but I'll have one, thanks. :)
Stop, I'm laughing so hard it hurts!
Reading IT geeks comment on something the have absolutely no clue about - priceless! It's like watching an accountant tell an AD admin how FSMO/PDC emulators works. I'm glad some fellow wingnuts came along a bit later :)
Kit flying machines which can go on the water - nothing new, move along..
Retractable gear in this weight class - done already.Multiple times.
Retractable gear on an amphibian in this weight class - http://www.sea-plane.com (they already fly these things in the Bahamas, and it costs about 50k USD)
Folding wings in this class - done already. Try typing "kit plane folding wings" into google - it's not difficult....
Nowhere to fly in the UK? Tosh - you can get instruction and fly in Scotland.
My personal favourite origami plastic fantastic is the Silence Aircraft "Twister". A German kitplane modelled on the Spitfire (oh, the irony...). Fast for it's class, retractable gear, looks great and has detachable wings and trolly system that makes the wings mountable with only one person (just as well, since it's only got 1 seat..). Ballistic Recovery System in case things do wrong of course. Some nice piccies and technical details:
Thing is, the "3 axis ultralight" thing that the US are now calling LSA has been led mostly by European designers and manufacturers for years. I'm not knocking my American cousins - with them now getting into the market (and the weakness of the dollar) things are looking good for "fun" aviation!