The accessibility of aviation changed this summer when the FAA approved the ICON A5, a 23-foot-long, 1,080-pound amphibious aircraft that can hold two people in a 46-inch-wide cockpit. The plane, which can reach up to 110 m.p.h., has a range of 430 miles on a full tank and is intended for short trips. Similar to how convertible cars were meant for enjoying a nice weekend, the A5 was intended for the sheer pleasure of flying one’s own plane.

“The A5 was designed to be a pure consumer-focused personal aircraft,” says Kirk Hawkins, ICON CEO and founder. “The focus of the design was to make it very user-friendly and much more accessible, easy to fly, and forgiving for even a novice flier.”

To accomplish that, engineers designed the A5 to be tailspin resistant so that it would keep the plane from spiraling to the ground, even in the event of pilot error. In fact, the plane will glide through the air, even gaining altitude if needed, as it takes control of itself and remains steady using the power of its engine until the pilot is able to regain control.

In order to enjoy the freedom of the open skies aboard the A5, consumers will need a sport pilot license, a certificate that requires at least 20 hours of flight time, about half the time necessary to earn a private pilot license. As such, sport pilots are restricted to only flying during the day, in fair weather with a minimum visibility of three miles, away from congested airspace, and at maximum of 2,000 feet above ground level.

While not in flight, the A5’s wings can be folded back, allowing for easy ground transportation attached to a trailer and storage between flights. With its wings tucked in, the plane becomes compact, measures around eight feet tall and making storage in larger garages an option. The A5’s 20-gallon tank can be filled with high-octane automotive gas as well as aviation fuel, which powers a 100-horsepower, Rotax 912 iS sport engine. The A5 is available for purchase, with a cost somewhere between $189,000 to $247,000, depending on options.

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