Briefing: August 2015


Icon A5 Ready For Deliveries

It’s been a long road, but Icon announced in June that its A5 light sport amphibian met all FAA requirements and the company was ready to start serial production. The first customer delivery was scheduled to take place at EAA AirVenture at Oshkosh, with about 60 more deliveries expected within the next 12 months. The all-composite A5 offers a spin-resistant design, a cockpit inspired by luxury automobile styling, and folding wings to make it easy to transport by trailer or store in a garage. It’s powered by a Rotax 912iS and sells for up to $250,000. The company first introduced its design in 2006.

Sikorsky Raider First Flight

The S-97 Raider helicopter prototype by Sikorsky flew for the first time late in May. The aircraft is designed to demonstrate “a game-changing combination of maneuverability, hover ability, range, speed, endurance, and survivability,” the company said. The aircraft is based on the company’s X-2 technology demonstrator that achieved a 250-knot cruise speed and won the Collier Trophy in 2010. The S-97’s coaxial counter-rotating main rotors and a pusher propeller are expected to provide cruise speeds up to 240 knots. The Raider also could be developed into a multi-mission military aircraft with room for six troops plus external weapons, the company said. The company is planning a demo tour of the Raider for 2016.

Airbus Unveils X6 Helicopter Design

Airbus Helicopters announced its latest project at the Paris Air Show in June – a heavy-lift twin-engine helicopter for civilian use, targeting the oil and gas industry. The X6 will feature fly-by-wire flight controls and all-weather capabilities, including full de-icing capability. It also will have a smooth and comfortable ride, with low noise levels and high fuel efficiency. Concepts for the X6 design will be evaluated with customer input over the next two years, the company said. Deliveries of the new design are expected to start in 2020. The X6 also could be used for search and rescue, VIP transport, and more, the company said.

Diamond Hybrid Electric Plane In Development

Diamond Aircraft is working on a third-generation hybrid-drive electric aircraft design at their headquarters in Austria. The airplane is based on a DA40 composite airframe, but instead of a geared conventional prop driven by a diesel engine, the aircraft will have a single Austro AE300 diesel driving a generator to power a pair of small, high-output electric motors, designed by Siemens. Each motor weighs less than 30 pounds, and they will be mounted on a canard. About 440 pounds of lithium batteries will be stowed in the space where the back seat would be, giving the aircraft an endurance of up to 10 hours. CEO Christian Dries told AVweb the airplane will use 30 percent less fuel than a comparable conventional system. He said the test program will take two or three years.

Airbus: Software Glitch Caused Fatal Crash

The loss of an Airbus A400M and four crew on a test flight in Seville, Spain, about 15 minutes after takeoff on May 9, was caused by incorrectly installed software, an Airbus official said late in May. No problems were found with the software itself, which controls the airplane’s four turboprop engines, and the 12 airplanes already in service were not affected, the company said. The A400M was undergoing its first test flight, with six Airbus employees on board. About 15 minutes after takeoff, the airplane lost power, hit an electrical tower and crashed into a field. The two who survived were seriously injured. The aircraft was designed as a military airlifter to replace the C-130 Hercules and similar aircraft and has been in service since 2013.


The FAA proposed to double the sim time allowed for pilot certification to 20 hours…A pair of Red Bull pilots flew in formation through a hangar in Wales…Tom Hanks will reportedly play Capt. Sullenberger in a Hollywood movie, Miracle on the Hudson, directed by Clint Eastwood…FAA officials said drone rules will be ready in 2016…Breaking news in general aviation can be found at


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