Icon A5 Update - No Deliveries!?!

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BBerson

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There is no excuse for not designing for efficient manufacturing. I guess they thought volume would somehow make everything work.
 

Marc Zeitlin

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There is no excuse for not designing for efficient manufacturing. I guess they thought volume would somehow make everything work.
Having been part of the design team for a year, I don't disagree with the notion that manufacturing should be an integral part of every design process - it certainly was in every medical product I ever worked on. However, as the only engineer in the company who had any experience with design for MFG, and given the desire for only the highest quality work (which they have) and the drive from Industrial Design (which in all fairness was very responsive to pushback from engineering), its not a surprise that the plane MFG costs are a lot higher than originally desired.

I would be interested, however (and I believe that this general thought process was discussed in another thread about low cost composite aircraft that don't exist) in some evidence that ANYONE knows (not just theorizes, but actually knows and has evidence of) low cost carbon composite manufacturing at ICON's quality level within the range of expected volumes for this aircraft (lets say 25 - 500 units/year). Personally, I don't think that anyone has figured out how to do "efficient manufacturing" in the sense you mean it with high strength carbon composites - ICON believed that they were somehow going to develop new MFG technologies in concert with Cirrus (who was originally supposed to be fabricating and assembling the composites), but obviously that never happened.
 

BBerson

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Personally, I don't think that anyone has figured out how to do "efficient manufacturing" in carbon composites.
Right.
And further, I think the full composite skin is inappropriate for "Light Sport".
The weight limitations require something like "advanced fabric skin". After all, light sport was supposed to be a minor upgrade from "ultralights"
 

Dana

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I hear that Dana is looking for an Icon. 😂

Hah! This is as close as I'll ever get. Yeah, that's my Hatz in the hangar, apparently the Icon's pilot clipped a tree on short final landing in the dark, went down the embankment between the runway and the hangars, ripped off the landing gear going over the retaining wall, and ended up there.

1584834180919.png

I could see myself in a Searey though...
 

ToddK

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Apparently you guys are missing the point of ICON's business model: They are in the business of creating jobs for themselves by selling dreams to naïve investors and want-to-be pilots. I submit to you that they have been VERY successful.

BJC
Think about how much money they could make if the offered an "electric" version. They could double the price, take pre orders for 10 years then deliver something that only has 30 min of endurance (about as much time as it takes to single virtue), and the contaminate would loooove it! Money and adoration would rain down on them from the heavens.
 

Billrsv4

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OK I have checked in on Icon's progress from time to time. On their business model I have only 1 general comment. Until they can produce a LSA aircraft that costs the same as a typical car, and yes I mean typical, about 20 to 30K there will never be a long line of folks willing to become the next batch of LSA pilots. To normal folks, and I would consider myself in that catagory, how much can you pay for a toy? LSA's Are not intended to be long range or multi-passenger carrying so, a fun flyer. Nothing wrong with that but a nice composite aircraft with the required recip engine at $150000 is simply to damm expensive. Average Joes and Janes just don't have that much disposable income. Heck my private pilot license was a stretch. I am looking at kits because that is the only way I may ever be able to own a modern capable aircraft, rather than a clapped out 40 year old 172! Looking back at all those kits on the cover of Popular Science what was their selling point? "Have your own airplane for less than the cose of a new car!" The other thing is that most of the people who are interested are not going to be mechanical wizards. It frightens me how little the current generations know about mechanical technology. Remember many of these folks are the ones texting to each other from opposite ends of the same couch!
T.O. Bill
 

TFF

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Your argument is the plans built argument. Cheap, simple at the cost of not being top of the technological pyramid. Scrounging is building.

Speaking of pyramids, the Icon management is an upside down Pyramid. If you read the info on those people, they are not doing it for the love of aviation, except for the engineer who crashed and the chief test pilot. I believe both have been members here and the biplane forum. If they don’t get a bunch for the product, they don’t get a bunch in their Christmas stocking. Aviation on a whole is weak on management. One of the few business you can still go from janitor to president. If you are capable, you can rise to a pretty decent title job quick. If you are smart, you can hit hard in a industry that is made from people that love it. Pure Machiavellian in a sea of dear in headlights. Pull out the machine gun.

Some guy trying to sell plans out of his garage is doing it because in his soul, he has to. . A cool consumer product is not ever meant to be cheap, it’s meant to make money for someone.
 

sming

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I would be interested, however (and I believe that this general thought process was discussed in another thread about low cost composite aircraft that don't exist) in some evidence that ANYONE knows (not just theorizes, but actually knows and has evidence of) low cost carbon composite manufacturing at ICON's quality level within the range of expected volumes for this aircraft (lets say 25 - 500 units/year).
I know nothing about Icon quality level, but every european LSA and gliders manufacturers are kind of cheaper?
Pipistrel, like the Virus is 70K€, and the more luxurious like the blackshape, jmb vl3, elixir, etc... are more like 150K€ but still half the price of the Icon? They all use the same engine...
 

radfordc

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OK I have checked in on Icon's progress from time to time. On their business model I have only 1 general comment. Until they can produce a LSA aircraft that costs the same as a typical car, and yes I mean typical, about 20 to 30K there will never be a long line of folks willing to become the next batch of LSA pilots.
Perhaps you're right, but I think people either want to fly or they don't and won't be motivated to fly at any price. Those who want to fly make it happen somehow....either renting, building, buying cheap, or if fortunate they can afford whatever appeals to them. I'm sure Icon's target market is the same people who drive Porsches, Ferarris, etc.
 

Marc Zeitlin

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I know nothing about Icon quality level, but every european LSA and gliders manufacturers are kind of cheaper?
Pipistrel, like the Virus is 70K€, and the more luxurious like the blackshape, jmb vl3, elixir, etc... are more like 150K€ but still half the price of the Icon? They all use the same engine...
Are they amphibians, with retractable gear, folding wings, a CAP, AOA indication, etc.? There's no question that the ICON A5 is more expensive than all other LSA's, and that it's way too expensive, and that management decisions led to the excess costing. But it's also more complex, higher quality than ANY of the others, and even at the 70K€ to 150K€, level, those planes are not "cheap", or even "low cost". That was my point with that particular comment. Bring an LSA in for the average cost of a car (say $30K), and now you're talking "low cost".
 

BBerson

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I think the AOA instrument and lack of "glass" was a sound management choice.
Not sure what exactly is meant by higher quality. Is it perfect curves and paint or is it long lasting, light weight, easy maintenance, affordable, simple?
The Cory Bird "Symmetry" was hailed as "perfection". But was NOT designed for mass manufacture or usable by the masses with it's 4000 foot runway required. Is that called quality?
It's a balance. My 30 year old Honda Civics have a good balance. The newer ones are too complex.
I think a simple amphibian could be engineered without full retractable wheels. Sort of like wheel skis, some are full retractable and some are fixed. With fixed narrow wheels that work on water the wheels down fatal crash flip over is eliminated.
 
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dog

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Dec 29, 2019
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the icon is clearly over priced and a disapointment
but from the picture further up in the thread it can sure take a hit and still look like an airplane, realy
wow,takes out trees and retaining walls and looks rebuildable,so the "exrtra" weight is doing something, also the weight exemption that icon
got for LSA is a precident that could help other
manufacturers
 
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