New planes in the air -- and water -- around Tampa

- If an airplane can be inspired by motorcycles and Waverunners, then this plane is designed to move you in a different way. 

"Not to move you physically, but to move you emotionally," explained Kirk Hawkins, founder of Icon Aircraft. "Learn to fly, become a pilot, and see the world in three dimensions the way you've only dreamed about." 

Hawkins is an entrepreneur and former fighter pilot who believes his Icon A-5 can bring flying to a whole new market. Flying, he believes, can become a power sport, the same as snow machines, Jet Skis, and powerboats.


The A-5 carries a pilot and passenger and has dual controls so either seat can fly. Its wings fold and the plane can be put on a trailer like a boat. 

Icon, based in northern California, just opened its first east coast flight training center at Peter O. Knight Airport in Tampa. The A-5 is an amphibian, so the airport's location on Tampa Bay made sense as a location.

"If I had designed a place for learning to fly, it would look like this," offered Hawkins.

The planes aren't cheap. Right now, the cost is over $250,000 but the company says hundreds are back-ordered. They're banking on people buying lessons and then renting A-5's based in Tampa.


Icon says at the Tampa facility a person can train and be licensed to fly the A-5 in just 15 days. They say the "light sport" license doesn't allow night flying, but is sufficient for daytime adventures in the air and on the water. 

"What we're about is inspiring anyone who has ever dreamed of flying to come out and learn to fly," Hawkins added. He believes many will discover his belief that flying can be more than transportation; it can be fun.

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