Driving a sports car with wings

Driving a sports car with wings

Tampa, Florida (CNN) – When it comes to piloting an airplane, I have no experience.

In fact, I didn’t even think about trying this.

However, when we fly over Tampa Bay, Florida on a wonderful morning in November, I control enthusiastically with the controls of ICON A5, a two-seat amphibious aircraft that looks like a sports car, and maneuvers like water skiing are very intuitive, the company says that even a beginner can learn to fly In less than 30 hours.

It is 23 feet long and weighs 1.510 lbs, and is known as the light sport seaplane.

Designed to help you focus on freedom to fly without worrying about whether the plane will react unexpectedly, there’s nothing else quite like it on the market.

Now that I’m in control, my entire body is tense for five good minutes. Am I really ready to try this shiny new machine on my own? Not quite sure.

However, I feel comfortable in the fact that the A5 was specially designed for people like me and was designed to drive like a car.

Additionally, the fact that Icon CEO and Kirk Kirk Hawkins at my side in the cockpit doesn’t hurt either. He can take over the controls at any time.

So far, so good.

We glide smoothly through the air at 1,000 feet, and I am comfortable enough to take in the sights. The impressive Fort De Soto Park does not disappoint.

Surrounded by white sand dunes surrounded by water that looks as if it were in the Caribbean.

Sunshine Skyway Bridge, with a series of spanning cables, is also impressive.

Adrenaline is still racing. As most surreal experiences go, they continue to improve.

For starters, there’s another ICON A5 icon on my left, which is exciting in itself. We fly in formation, and my job is to simulate his movements. You might think this would be scary, but it’s not.

It is just fun.

This is music for Hawkins’ ears. It’s the brains behind this new plane, a 10-year idea in the making.

As a former Air Force pilot F-16 and graduate of Stanford Business School, he has focused most of his life on making aviation sport available to the masses.

“The idea for us,” he says, was to create a plane where the average person could go out and experience the world without the burden of becoming a professional pilot.

So it makes sense that the dashboard looks what you see in your car. There are only a few metrics that I don’t recognize.

“It’s Apple’s approach to things,” he says. “You make it human and make it intuitive, easy, and cool.”

He is so confident that people will want to fly (and buy) his planes so much that he just opened a flight training facility at Peter or Knight Airport.

Located on Davis Island, five minutes from downtown Tampa, it is a place where both camels and sailing abound.

The company’s other training center is located in Vacaville, California, where ICON is based.

Wide eyes and open windows

By 9 am, it’s time for a short pause for the water.

Hawkins takes control. I’ve been very busy learning to fly in training (and not something other than pilots often try to experience) and interviews Hawkins until I think about learning to do waterfall myself. It’s something Hawkins tells me that most people can master in about 30 minutes.

A few negative Gs turn 360 degrees later and it becomes a fun ride in the sky. Plus, it’s an outdoor excursion, so sometimes I get off my arms. Just because I can.

At a few hundred feet above the water, it is easy to discover a waving plant, a herd of swans to stingrays.

He says: “We will withdraw here, stop and go out for a second.”

Sure he is joking, right? But after the plane landed on the water, he took off the seat belt, and realized it was not.

Seconds later, the surface protrudes and we ascend to the wings, which can double as easily as diving boards. Suddenly, this looks less like a picnic and more like I’m on a sunbathing boat.

Everything is drenched in magical golden color. I can imagine walking on the nearby beach. Or take the plane somewhere for a remote camping trip this weekend.

Because the plane has a range of about 430 miles on a full tank, it is designed for short trips.

“This whole thing is about inspiring people,” he explains. “Once you learn to fly, you will never be the same. You will look at the sky differently, you will look at the planet differently.”

Designed to make flying simple

“The basic motor skills of operating a plane are very easy,” Lee Hawkins says. “We have people landing alone with a coach on their first day, within 30 minutes.”

However, it took hard time to design it for safety. The goal of the anti-spin structure is that if the pilot makes mistakes, the plane does not lose control.

As a backup, there is a full plane canopy.

“The anti-roll feature is great because it is the first aircraft that the Federal Aviation Administration deems to be anti-roll,” says Chris Dobbin, flight coach and US Air Force officer. “A large number of general aviation deaths are from loss of control incidents involving unrecoverable rotation from the base to the final rotation.”

Plus, there’s the angle of the attack indicator, which is something you wouldn’t normally see in light aircraft. It shows you where the wing is happy (in green) or where it can stop (in red).

The pilot’s job is to keep the wing inside the green or yellow part of the scale. This is part of what makes taking off and landing in water easy to learn.

Become a barnistor

“Kirk Hawkins has a very creative and innovative idea to train pilots and it is more intuitive: teaching the feeling of flying first, managers and the structure later, unlike how people learn to drive,” says Christine Negroni, a veteran aviation journalist and author of “Book Hawkins.” “Detectives crash.”

“The world is facing an experimental shortage, so the idea of ​​teaching differently, so that different learning styles can be accommodated can greatly expand the pool of experiential candidates.”

In this note, about 40% of the people who deposit ICON A5 deposits are not pilots, which means that this aircraft attracts flying newbies.

After an hour and a half of flying time, Hawkins landed on the tarmac, a maneuver that you can manipulate after you’ve mastered many landings. It’s a little trickier because it requires more precision and knowledge about headwinds.

At this point, if I own this plane, I’ll tie it to a trailer, fold the wings up, drive it home, and park it in the garage.

Get some time in the air

If you want your ICON A5, do the compatibility. More than 1,800 clients have deposited deposits.

For those who are not willing to pay $ 207,000 to buy one, there is an option to stop at the ICON training facility in Tampa, or the facility in Vacaville, California, to travel the day.

The introductory stake in Sport Flying is 1.5 hours for $ 595. To get your Pilot Sports License you will need to spend more than 20 hours and prices vary.

Sarah Sicula is a Orlando-based travel writer and video host. Follow her adventures wordzilla and wordzillapics.

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