[caption id="attachment_92835" align="aligncenter" width="450"] The Icon A5 Light Sport Aircraft, shown without landing gear in the new corporate headquarters and manufacturing facility near Nut Tree Airport in Vacaville.[/caption]
VACAVILLE -- After an extensive three-year nationwide search, Icon Aircraft plans to move from Los Angeles to a facility adjacent to the Nut Tree Airport in Vacaville later this year.
The privately held company (iconaircraft.com) employs about 150 workers today and expects this total to increase to 500 or more high-paying advanced manufacturing jobs as full production ramps in 2015.
The announcement came May 14 at a reception attended by more than 200 business leaders, elected officials, reporters and other guests, at the 140,000-square foot warehouse located at 2141 Beechcraft Rd., just off the Vacaville Parkway exit from Interstate 505.
[caption id="attachment_92837" align="alignleft" width="196"] Icon Aircraft CEO and founder Kirk Hawkins[/caption]
Icon CEO and founder Kirk Hawkins said that the company plans to consolidate aircraft manufacturing, sales, flight training, services and headquarters at this new site.
"The selection of Vacaville as Icon's new home is a major milestone for the company and a significant economic win for the residents of the region," Mr. Hawkins said. "The entire community, the region and state, went above and beyond to be business-friendly."
According to an independent study, the presence of Icon can have an economic impact on Vacaville and Solano County estimated at $350 million annually through wages paid, local purchases made by Icon, and increases in employee and visitor spending, as well as sales and property tax revenues to the city and county once the plant is at full production.
"This move will play a major role in achieving our goal to not only deliver the best consumer light sport aircraft in the world, but also a comprehensive flight training and operating experience that our customers and employees will absolutely love," Mr. Hawkins said.
The company intends to deliver its first customer aircraft in early 2015.
[caption id="attachment_92838" align="alignright" width="360"] The Icon A5 amphibious sports aircraft takes off from a lake.[/caption]
Called A5, it is an amphibious two-seat, single-engine, light sport aircraft priced at an estimated $189,000. It has a range of 300 nautical miles, a top speed of 120 mph and runs on unleaded or aviation gas. Some 1,050 order deposits have been received from prospective customers.
The sport aircraft Federal Aviation Administration classification requires pilots to fly lower than 10,000 feet, in uncongested air space, during the daytime and in good weather. A minimum of 20 hours of in-flight training is required. Icon will conduct two-week training classes at this new facility beginning next year for an as-yet-undetermined fee.
With a cockpit designed like a classic sports car, the A5 also has wings that fold for easy trailer transport and storage. It comes with an under-belly rudder for water maneuvering, and for added safety, a cargo chute can be deployed if the engine fails.
Mr. Hawkins said that the Nut Tree Airport location has a rare combination of key elements that makes it an ideal fit for Icon at this next stage of its growth -- a large manufacturing building with access to a runway, outstanding weather and physical conditions for year round flight operations and training, as well as nearby lakes for water landings.