Icon A5 Update - No Deliveries!?!

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BBerson

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So they now will have 6.6 workers per plane, per year. I worked at a two seat airplane factory that had 1.0 workers per plane, per year.
 

litespeed

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As a side issue,

forgetting about the staff numbers-

I would not want a aircraft built on absolutely cheapist labour they could get. Bet they don't pay the office/sales staff that little.

Spend money on making a quality aircraft not marketing BS.
 

BJC

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ICON has delivered approximately 90 airplanes over the past three years. Cirrus has delivered around 900 over that same time. Cirrus delivered roughly ten times as many aircraft as ICON, with roughly twice the number of employees. The Cirrus is FAA type certificated (the A5 is ASTM self-certificated), and is much more complicated than the A5.


BJC
 

TFF

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I’m sure it’s done there because of labor cost and EPA OSHA compliance. Also wondering because of low skill rate, they have to over man the factory. Does anyone know how many people worked in the Lancair or Glasair factories when they were jumping at their kit manufacturing peak?
 

Wanttaja

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I’m sure it’s done there because of labor cost and EPA OSHA compliance. Also wondering because of low skill rate, they have to over man the factory. Does anyone know how many people worked in the Lancair or Glasair factories when they were jumping at their kit manufacturing peak?
Here's a recent Google Earth image of the Stoddard-Hamilton hangar and factory area. The building at the top with the various airplanes parked outside is not part of the S-H operation.

The building just to the left of center is the offices/hangar (the Google Earth "purse" symbol is just to the right of it) and the building to its right (East) is the main factory. I'm not sure if the building to the lower right is part of S-H, and I'm pretty sure the company doesn't have the green-roofed building to the south and the gray-roofed building (all the way to the east).

I'm guessing that if you count parking stalls, there are probably no more than 75-100 over the entire complex, including the buildings that I don't think are used by the company. That would include office and executive staff in the main building.

This is a picture I took inside the main factory ~20-25 years ago.

I'm guessing it was on a Saturday, so of course there would be fewer workers there. Still not a lot of room for hundreds of people to work....

Ron Wanttaja
 
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BJC

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The current Glasair Aviation facility is south of the complex shown above. See it here, just to the right (east) of the DC-3. https://www.google.com/maps/@48.1639138,-122.1529552,252m/data=!3m1!1e3?hl=en The Sportsman kits are built in the building under the "Aviation" tag, and the and TWTT workshop / hangar is the building under the "Gla." A covered walkway connects the factory with the TWTT hangar.

I believe that a part of the complex in the picture that you posted was, at one time, Stoddard-Hamilton, and is today a business started by Tom Hamilton (and others?) named Stoddard International. See https://www.stoddardintl.com/

Neither Stoddard-Hamilton nor Glasair Aviation produce(d) completed aircraft, except for prototypes and demonstrators, so comparisons to ICON may not be comparing similar scopes of work.

Based on my personal TWTT experience, a quick build Sportsman kit can be become a flying airplane in about 480 MHs, then add another 80+ MHs (my guess) for a custom paint job.


BJC
 

Hot Wings

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Another point of reference:

When I wired firetrucks we had 100 to 110 employees (essentially unskilled) at any one time - with a 10% absentee rate and an annual turnover of at least 20%. The trucks came in as bare cab and chassis and we turned out an average of 1.3 completed trucks a week. We had a metal shear, a brake (CNC brake near the end), a 5x10 CNC router* and a dozen aluminum MIG welders, so it wasn't exactly high tech.

We could have done more but there was a choke point** in the paint department. Management simply would not consider splitting up the paint staff into 2 shifts - letting us use the paint shop resources for more hours /day.

*That could hold a tolerance of about .100" at the speed we ran it.:rolleyes:
** and a QC problem.
 

TFF

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It’s not direct across the board, but extrapolating how many people they need to make all the parts would or should be comparable. Just add assembly crew. Not all the same, but how many were there on the two week to taxi?

I know the Enstrom helicopter factory has between 120-180 people to build 20-50 helicopters a year, depending on lean or full capacity. Mostly machinists as they make just about everything in house. It is not an efficient factory. These things are pretty much made just like 1965. They have been doing it a long time, which helps. The tail is aluminum monocoque, the center is 4130 tube, the front is aluminum substructure with fiberglass shell, and all the machined little bits. Maybe 6-10 assemble the final parts.
 

Hot Wings

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I know the Enstrom helicopter factory has between 120-180 people to build 20-50 helicopters a year, << >> Mostly machinists as they make just about everything in house.
Quite a bit different than my firetruck example. Other than coach work, wiring, plumbing and paint everything else was OTS.
 

BJC

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... Not all the same, but how many were there on the two week to taxi?
For my build, there were two inexperienced (with the Sportsman, but proficient with a wide variety of tools and techniques), my son in law and me, and an average of two highly experienced making certain that we didn't make a mistake and assisting with the build. Two weeks of that at 60 hours per week, or 480 Man Hours. That was to airworthy condition, but not painted.


BJC
 

Wanttaja

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The current Glasair Aviation facility is south of the complex shown above. See it here, just to the right (east) of the DC-3. https://www.google.com/maps/@48.1639138,-122.1529552,252m/data=!3m1!1e3?hl=en The Sportsman kits are built in the building under the "Aviation" tag, and the and TWTT workshop / hangar is the building under the "Gla." A covered walkway connects the factory with the TWTT hangar.
Thanks...haven't been to that side of the field for quite a long time.

The buildings I pointed out were in use during the heyday of Stoddard-Hamilton, when both Glasairs and Glastars were being produced at the facility. So I still hold with ~75-100 people involved, at that time.

I know the Enstrom helicopter factory has between 120-180 people to build 20-50 helicopters a year, depending on lean or full capacity. Mostly machinists as they make just about everything in house. It is not an efficient factory. These things are pretty much made just like 1965. They have been doing it a long time, which helps. The tail is aluminum monocoque, the center is 4130 tube, the front is aluminum substructure with fiberglass shell, and all the machined little bits. Maybe 6-10 assemble the final parts.
One other factor we should consider is that a lot of Icon's composite work is done in Mexico. Does anyone know if the work is done by an Icon-owned company, or a separate subcontractor?

If that latter, we don't know if the ICON RIF involves them as well...and if not, even the 450 employees they're supposed to be slimming down to sounds incredible bloated, when compared to TFF's report on Enstrom.

It seems Robinson Helicopters has a ~500-1000 person workforce, but they've delivered something like 10,000 aircraft. Production seems to be decreasing since then, but there are ~100 Robinson Helicopters with a 2015 model year on the FAA registry.

Ron Wanttaja
 

BJC

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.. So I still hold with ~75-100 people involved, at that time.
Agree with your estimate.
One other factor we should consider is that a lot of Icon's composite work is done in Mexico. Does anyone know if the work is done by an Icon-owned company, or a separate subcontractor?
ICON built a new 300,000 square foot facility there. They own the facility and the decision to make that investment.


BJC
 

akwrencher

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Ok, it's driving me nuts and Google isn't spilling the beens...what does TWTT stand for???

Edit, as soon as I posted, it hit me....two weeks to taxi........
 
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dragon2knight

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BJC

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Marc Zeitlin

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I know it's fashionable here to beat up on ICON, and Cthulhu knows, there's certainly enough to beat them up for. But Dave Hirschman has an article:


that debunks the common wisdom that ICON's marketing techniques are the cause of the accidents that have occurred. He lists all the accidents, along with the pilot experience level for each, and references to the accident causes. None of the accidents involved low time new pilots.
 
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