The NTSB has released its preliminary report on the crash of an Icon A5 LSA amphibian at Lake Berryessa, California, early last week. The report makes clear why the company hinted early on that it was confident the airplane was not to blame.
Killed in the crash were longtime Icon employee, engineer and chief pilot Jon Karkow and new Icon employee Cagri Sever. The flight, Icon said, “was Sever’s first in the A5 and was set to be his introduction to the product he would soon be working on” in his new position as director of engineering.
In the report, the NTSB wrote that:
A witness, who was in a boat on Lake Berryessa, reported observing the accident airplane flying over the lake about 30 to 50 feet above the water, at what seemed to be a low speed. The witness stated that the airplane passed by their position and entered a nearby cove, traveling in a northerly direction. The witness heard the engine "rev up" as the airplane drifted to the right side of the cove. Subsequently, the airplane pitched upward and entered a left turn, just before it traveled beyond the witness's field of view. The witness stated that he heard the sound of impact shortly after losing visual site of the airplane.
Soon after the accident, Icon suspended all flight operations in the A5, of which there are around 20 flying. The accident airplane was registered to a private individual but was being operated by Icon, a common practice between aircraft owners and the manufacturer. But soon after it had the opportunity to review the early evidence, Icon cleared the fleet for regular flight operations.
A full NTSB report is not expected for months.