|By Carmelo Turdo|
A unique aircraft was seen flying over the Mississippi River in downtown St. Louis this week, making a splash among aviation enthusiasts and the general public alike. The aircraft, an amphibious ICON A5, is in town for flight demonstrations to potential customers in preparation for an appearance at the Luxury Sports and Imports Show next weekend. The aircraft is being marketed and flown locally by Rick Rief, ICON Regional Sales Director, from St. Louis Downtown Airport. Demonstration flights over the St. Louis riverfront, including intentional "splash-and-goes" in front of the Gateway Arch, sparked calls to emergency services. All is well, though, since a flight in an ICON A5 can involve taking off and landing on solid ground or water.
The Aero Experience met with Rick Rief for a brief showing of the ICON A5 to local Regions Bank representatives in front of the West Terminal during our visit to Big River Aviation on Wednesday. The all-composite Light Sport Aircraft (LSA) was designed with advanced aerodynamic and safety features, including sculpted hull and seawing platforms, folding wings, custom transport trailer, ballistic rescue parachute and car-like cockpit arrangement. The ICON A5 is powered by a Rotax 912iS Sport engine, and features a Garmin GPS flat screen, removable for pre-flight planning. ICON offers east and west coast flight centers for initial LSA pilot training or transition training to the A5 model. The ICON A5 price tag is not for the feint of heart, but the advanced features of the design and product support are part of the calculation while considering this high-end LSA amphibian.
The ICON A5 used for this week's flights is shown here in front of the West Terminal:
The ICON A5 demonstration flights were flown from the Jet Aviation apron on the north side of St. Louis Downtown Airport. Later in the afternoon, we again caught up with Rick Rief and the ICON A5 following several more demonstration flights. The fading light accentuated the clean lines and contrasting color scheme of the aircraft, and made for a fitting conclusion of a great day.