Be a pilot in 20 hours
Coming in 2010: A sleek plane for sport pilots.
(Fortune Small Business) -- Spurred by the FAA's easing of licensing requirements for pilots of low-altitude "light sport" aircraft, former Air Force pilot Kirk Hawkins set about developing a premium light sport plane - the Ferrari of the skies.
Icon Aircraft's first model, the A5, was recently unveiled and opened for advance orders. Since licensing for the planes requires only a driver's license and 20 hours of instruction, Hawkins expects brisk demand and sales of at least 500 planes a year. At presstime he was taking order No. 218; deliveries begin in late 2010.
"Think of low-altitude flying as off-road airspace," says Hawkins, 41. "With the new regulations, the FAA acknowledged a market for consumers who don't want to fly at 30,000 feet at Mach 0.8."
So how fast can these things fly? Fortune Small Business got the skinny on the A5, and a look at its prototype.