Feeds

back to article Foldable sports plane gives Everyman a chance at crashing

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 …

COMMENTS

This topic is closed for new posts.
Bronze badge
Coat

Does it come with...

...a small person yelling "Da Plane Da Plane"?

I couldn't resist. Bye now...

0
0
Gold badge
Happy

Picture #2

Never mind hiking, the caption here should be something like: "Son, what the feck are you using for bait?", or: "Very clever, smartarse. You caught it, now you get to cook it."

0
0
Happy

Needs to fit 2 people, and a docking station...

Docking station (not the PC type) for one of those rocket wing things that was also on here recently. :)

0
0
Stop

MP3

Well, I guess it's just what we need: an MP3 player to distract the novice pilot already lacking in attention span.

I'll wait until the first collision between one of these and a jet liner full of passengers.

0
0
Coat

*crunch*

oh god.. that was my first thought as well.. "small plane? surely it needs a small announcer to let all the plebs know you're about to land your ferarri"

we suck el reg, we suck.

0
0
Coat

Optional extras

Hellfires anybody?

Mines the one with the minigun ammo in the pocket

0
0
Silver badge
Thumb Up

Yay! I can afford one...

I'll just have to sell the house, buy a studio apartment and live on peanut butter sandwiches.

When I saw the pic, I wondered why they'd used a mid-mounted prop, then I realised what would happen if you let an 'amateur' loose in a vehicle with a whirling blade of death on the front of it.

0
0
Silver badge
Thumb Down

Wait a minute!

I just watched the linked video (and I know what you mean Austin).

"The next big phase is working on putting the flying prototype of this in the air in the next few months - getting this airborne"

Hmm, do I have any venture capital that these guys can piss against the wall for a while as I wait for my plane to be delivered?

0
0
Anonymous Coward

*propeller guard not shown

I for one can't wait to see the effects of beered-up good ol' boys crashing into forests on a daily basis. Or just chopping their fingers off

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: Requirements

"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."

In the UK at least, that's less than you need to drive on the ground, and even then, most of those people have enough dificulty coping with just 2 dimensions. I can't wait to be tailgated by a woman on a mobile phone taking her children to football practise.

0
0
M7S
Bronze badge
Coat

Lets hope it doesn't come with

"Windows for Wings".

Mine's the one with "Warren Worthington" written on the inside.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Cost

The $139,000 is just for the tank of petrol by the time it's released.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

That's very swish.

And am(tri?)phibious too... Aren't there piloting issues with taking off from water though... the sort that you'd better get more than 20 hours (and maybe 10 take-offs...) under your belt before trying...?

0
0
Gold badge
Paris Hilton

Up there, in the sky!

It's a bird! It's a plane! It's a...yuppie?

I'm glad no such license exists in Canada. These people can't drive, much less fly. I'd be absolutely terrified with the concept of my province full of redneck oil workers who thought finishing high school was too "inconvienient" becuase "they can get jobs now" with the power to fly. Sad bit is, for less than $200,000, were that class of license available, they would be doing so en masse...

Paris, because, well, imagine 3 million of her flying around in those things.

0
0
Silver badge

I love it, I want one

I've always wanted to learn to fly, and I didn't realise the Americans were so stupid that you can now learn to fly quicker than you can learn to drive, especially when *passengers* on other planes take more flak than this.

That thing looks like a right laugh. When I make my millions off the net and retire to Canada, I'll import one.

Have to go, it's time to wake up.

0
0
Bronze badge

I like the seaplane...

But somebody has forgotten the mooring line...

Seriously, all the pictures have the feel of CGI images.

Let me know when I can point a real camera at a real plane.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Just what we need...

A bunch of incompetent pilots zipping around the sky for their own amusement. There are already enough idiots on the road, keep them out of the air!

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Does it come with... 2

... someone to come along behind you and fold up that damn parachute correctly after it has been deployed ?

With my origami skills it would probably turn into a water bomb on its second descent and be implicated in the sudden appearance of a hole in the ground.

0
0

The ultimate toy for...

..the antisocial skydiver. Fly it up, release plane chute, jump out.

Cancel my order for a vertical rail gun, I'll take the plane.

0
0
Go

this would be perfect for

The Lake District?

Well, it's not going to reach the bahamas from the UK is it.

Do you think they'd let me land it on lake Windermere? And for that matter where can it take off, I don't have a convenient lake or runway nearby, will a football field do?

0
0
K
Bronze badge
Thumb Up

look good

But is there room to attach an airbourne chemical laser? Or bomb mounts so i can attach sharks with "friggin" lasers on their head?

0
0
Happy

Artists Impression....?

So does the damn thing float or was that a bad landing ?

0
0
Coat

Hmm

Wot, no satnav?

0
0
Thumb Up

The dream gets ever closer...

Surely it's not beyond the realms of possibility for some boffins to fit some sort of self-propulsion and steering systems to be used when on the ground?

Voila - the flying car.

0
0
Happy

Lifting Capacity Problem

As well as the cost of the fuel by the time this plane actually exists there is another fundamental problem. The plane is lightweight with a low cargo / lifting capacity, at the rate at which Americans are getting heavier there may never actually be a point where this plane can get 1 American off the ground, let alone 2...

0
0
Silver badge
Coat

What you don't realise...

... is that before you can take off you'll have to present your ID, fingerprints, DNA sample, iris scan to the onboard computer which will then check you for nail clippers, scissors, nail files, bottles containing more than 100ml of liquid or any other dangerous items...

Mine's the orange jumpsuit...

0
0

@ the cube

too damned right. it's an ultralight. and i think just my arse alone would be taxing it. on the bright side, it being an ultralight, the potential damage to things it hits is rather negligible. if it blunders ito the path of an airliner on takeoff or landing it should leave a mark but not much else.

0
0
Silver badge

Pah...

That's for amatuers, this is a real folding plane

http://tinyurl.com/63kxpu

0
0

Cute, but doubtful

Pretty little airplane, but . . .

$140K is going to be way low when (if) this every reaches "production" status

It would be far more likely for this to happen if it were offered as a set of plans plus some of the difficult parts - people DO build ultralights in their garages, and they DO get finished and actually fly. If the builder supplies the labor and the warranty and assumes the liability, the profit for the plans-seller is still there and they don't have to make the airplanes.

The wing hinges have to be strong (duh) and idiot-proof (double duh), which means they are going to be heavy and expensive. Since this is an ultralight, every gram counts. Folding wings sound nice, but very, very few aircraft have ever utilized them successfully at reasonable prices (Yes, the Corsair successfully had folding wings - have you priced one of those lately?) More likely they'll be quick-detach, which of course brings its own set of engineering problems. ("Do not remove wings while aircraft is in flight" warning label.)

Same for the retractable landing gear - heavy, complex, expensive. Look for this to wind up with fixed, faired gear, which makes for a difficult but not impossible design problem in an amphibian.

I wish them luck, but they are asking an awful lot given the constraints of the low weight limit and $140K price. And it WOULD be a wonderful aircraft to use in the Bahamas!

Don't need to worry about conflicts with airliners, either - the only way one of these is ever going to get to 35,000 feet is if it is tied to the Space Shuttle.

0
0

Aerial mopeds - don't panic

There's really nothing special about it - this UK specimen can carry a passenger *or* cover 800 miles on a tankful:

http://www.pmaviation.co.uk/ct.php

It's almost an aerial motorcycle, and probably about as comfortable.

They seem to be readily available, at least in remote parts of Wiltshire, though apparently if madam needs to ask the price, madam can't afford it.

0
0
Black Helicopters

available from a store near you

Yup, and here in dear old Blighty, you can buy several imilar aircraft. They're called 3-axis microlights and they look like regular planes but smaller. Empty they weigh no more than 250kg and 450kg fully laden. Some will do more than 160mph at over 50mpg which aint bad! And you can fly one with a reduced license which is cheaper and quicker to get. Part built kits cost £30k to £50k including engine.

Mine's the one with furry dice

0
0
Alert

And while trying to land. . .

I can see it now. Gerard Gadfly tries to beat me to the runway as I am trying to land my twin-engine biz jet at 130 knots. Just what I need: regular checks of my sphincter muscle.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: Cute, but doubtfu

"Don't need to worry about conflicts with airliners, either - the only way one of these is ever going to get to 35,000 feet is if it is tied to the Space Shuttle."

Ah of course. I was under the mistaken impression that planes need to take off and land, hence bringing them closer to the ground, but now I remember that passengers teleport on and off planes these days...

0
0
Thumb Up

Wow! Now I know where the bitter people go...

Love the airplane - can't stand the article or most of the comments.

Points to be made

1. 20 hours is the bare minimum for a Sport Pilot license. You still need to pass the knowledge (facts and figures) and practical (in the air skills) tests. The sort of person that can pull it off in 20 hours is probably also the sort that is destined to win Red Bull's aerobatic air races.

2. $139,000 USD is actually a pretty "normal" price for a shiny new LSA. Yeah, it's out of my budget too. But it is possible to get an airworthy 1970's era plane for $20,000 - $30,000 USD.

3. I'll be very surprised if the company fails due to technical issues. All the engineers are former Scaled Composites guys and Burt Rutan doesn't hire dummies. Look up "virgin Galactic" if "Scaled Composites" and "Burt Rutan" aren't familiar names to you.

4. @Christopher Emerson and the like : You and all of your chicken little friends are quite safe if you should choose to fly on a commercial airline in the USA (but I wouldn't blame you if you took a miss on it due to the TSA and our current silly security rules). Commercial airliners fly into towered airports that lie inside controlled airspace. If some idiot flies an airplane into controlled airspace, then the air traffic controllers route everybody else around him (yes, he will show up on radar), and the idiot will eventually get punished (revoked llicense and possible jail time). If, on the other hand, the airliner is at cruising altitude between two airports then it's way too high for an LSA to reach.

0
0
Boffin

@Chris Emerson

Ah of course. I was under the mistaken impression that most small private planes took off from small local airfields (usually grass fields with a small hangar at one end) where operating expenses are within reach of the average person, but now I remember that you can only take off and land at Heathrow or Gatwick.

Bottom line, if you're close enough to an airliner for it to matter, you're in airspace. At that point, either you've previously arranged with ATC that you're OK to be there, or you're in a world of hurt when you land because your plane's number is printed in big black letters along the fuselage and wings, and some big uniformed men without much sense of humour will be round your house in very short order. Airspace mostly only applies on the takeoff and landing paths for airports (and round the airport itself), and outside those it's assumed that everyone takes their chances and watches out for other aircraft. By that point your average airliner is indeed at 35,000 feet.

And that US license isn't exactly an "unprecedented low". Try hang-gliding. You can get powered harnesses for a hang-glider which basically turn them into an ultralight, and training is legally optional (although you'd have to be blindingly stupid not to get proper training, given that your body forms the control system, undercarriage and crumple zone, so if things go badly wrong it can hurt a lot). And even weightshift microlights need a whole lot less training than a PPL to fly a "proper" plane.

0
0
Silver badge
Black Helicopters

Dunno what all the fuss is about...

my paraglider folds up nicely into a rucksack. And only costs around three grand, UK, all in... and as soon as I recover from this inconvenient broken back caused by an inadvertant aircraft/terrain intersection event, I´ll be right back up there :)

0
0

@ Steve

>> The Lake District?

What, you think that pile of self selected people running LDNPA will take kindly to these ?

>> Do you think they'd let me land it on lake Windermere?

Well apart from having takeoff/landing speed that's above 10mph, there's the legal problem that effectively stops amphibious aircraft in England - to use Windermere as a landing strip, you'd need permission from the owners of every property you would pass in front of as I believe they have some rights from their shore to the middle of the water. On the east side it's mostly owned by the tufty club (National Trust), on the other side it's mostly owned by enough people witht eh sort of money that allows them to have a "stuff you and your 'wrong sort'" attitude without anyone answering back.

So I'd say your chances of doing this legally are, on a good day, nil !

And that's before you start on the aviation law stuff, as it's not a licenced airfield, there's the 500ft rule to consider, there can't be many days you could take off or land without flying less than 500ft from a person or vessel on Windermere :-(

Not that I have anything at all against the national park or how it's run, the tufty club and how they do things, or some of the better off residents and how they contrive to have things run - I've no idea what might give you that impression !

0
0
Dan

Nothing new

Why spend $140,000 on a "sports plane" when you can get an ultralight for $10,000?

0
0

Kitty Hawk? Bah!

Cornishman Richard Pearse has the claim to the first powered flight, in New Zealand, eight months before the Wright Brothers.

0
0

@Kitty Hawk? Bah!

So, you are saying that Richard Pearse flew before the Wright Brothers. Wouldn't that make the claim that "not seen since they let a couple of bicycle repairmen tool around Kitty Hawk" correct, meaning that they were the _last_ to fly unrestricted?

-dZ.

0
0
Jobs Halo

Does it come in white?

As a Mac user can I presume that a white model will be available?

0
0
Thumb Down

But...

...is it green? What MPG does it get, eh?

0
0
Thumb Down

"FOLDING WINGS! WOOOO!"

I should really have paid closer attention to the warning about that video. The only hope I have now is that Darwin will point out that there are some rich who should be composted. Throwing them all up in the air might help things in the end, but dang it... those planes are too cool for them. I wonder how much those drinks cost.

0
0
Go

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 :)

Lets see:

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:

http://www.pacificaerosport.com/docs/A%20New%20Twist.pdf

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!

0
0

Terrible idea for other people

...but I'll have one, thanks. :)

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Idjuts

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.

0
0
This topic is closed for new posts.