Icon Aircraft has pushed back first delivery of its Icon A5 light sport aircraft to mid-2011 after it took longer than expected to complete a new financing deal.

The two-seat amphibian made its air show debut today at EAA AirVenture 2009 in Oshkosh, exactly one year after both the company and aircraft was launched at AirVenture 2008. The aircraft, which has now completed over 50 flights, flew into Oshkosh after completing the first phase of its flight test programme. Icon chief executive Kirk Hawkins says flight testing is proceeding smoothly but the company has been forced to push back entry into service by nine months.

Hawkins explains the programme was slowed after a new round of financing that was scheduled to close last year got held up by the credit crisis. Icon was able to close the financing deal recently but the delay means the first production aircraft is now not scheduled for delivery until mid 2011 instead of the second half of 2010.

Hawkins says despite the delay "the A5 so far is performing exceptionally well". He says the aircraft has completed airworthiness testing and is now in phase two, the refinement phase. The aircraft has been slightly modified, with the largest changes made to the landing gear.

Most of the testing so far has been done on water but about a dozen flights have also been done on land. Today the flight test aircraft circled Oshkosh a few times before landing on the main runway. It will be on display at the main area of AirVenture until the end of the week, when it will fly over to the amphibian area and do a water demonstration.

Icon has already received over 400 deposits for the A5. Hawkins says the order backlog now stands at two years, which means new customers will not receive their aircraft until 2013. "The order book is still open but were thinking about closing the order book" in order to minimize the backlog, Hawkins says.

He says so far one third of the orders have been received from "non-pilots or new pilots". He says this shows millions of people want to fly but "just need to be inspired".

Hawkins says the A5 is designed for new pilots and existing pilots who "just want to go out in day VFR and fly around".

Source: Flight International