Production Update, 27 June 2014
June 27, 2014
The ICON team continues intensive work on the build of Engineering Serial Number 1 (ESN-1), the first production prototype A5 to be built using production tooling. Composite components are coming together to form the airframe, with numerous critical structural bonds completed on the wings, tail, and fuselage at ICON’s Tehachapi, California, facility.
With the assembly of the aircraft’s structure approaching completion, the team has transitioned its focus to systems integration, which is the next phase of the build. During this process, the following systems are installed in the aircraft: electrical, flight controls, propulsion, interior, landing gear, and parachute.
Additionally, the team has started the structural build of ESN-2, the second production prototype aircraft, which will undergo structural testing later this year. The third A5 to be manufactured using production tooling will be delivered to ICON’s first customer once it is complete in early 2015.
The fuselage assembly is suspended by a hoist prior to installation of the landing gear.
In the left photo, the main wing spar assemblies are bonded to the lower wing skins together with the ribs which comprise the remainder of the wing’s internal structure seen in the right photo.
Flaps are fitted to the wing along with control rods, which are operated by an electric actuator in the center wing.
The center wing sub-assembly, which serves as the structural backbone of the A5, is assembled.
The completed center wing sub-assembly is ready to be installed into the fuselage assembly as the two fuselage halves are mated.
Like the wing skins, fuselage skins are held in their assembly fixtures by suction cups connected by vacuum lines to a central compressor. They have already been trimmed, drilled, and abraded for bonding. The aft bulkheads have been bonded in, along with the seat mounts and several other internal structural components.
The completed center wing assembly is placed in the fuselage assembly fixture so it can be bonded into the fuselage as the two halves are joined.
With the major structural bonds of the fuselage complete, the ICON team begins systems installation, including landing gear, canopy hinge, and interior.
With the firewall in place, the Rotax 912 iS is installed, along with the airframe-mounted propulsion components.