Spin-resistant airplane makes it easier to not die while flying

I've spent a lot of time in small aircraft, and nothing (short of a wing falling off) scares me more than getting into a spin. Good pilots can recover from most stalls and spins given enough altitude, but it's still a very dangerous situation to be in, which is why it's a great idea to design an airplane that sucks at getting into spins in the first place.

The Icon A5 is designed to be both difficult to stall and very forgiving if a stall actually happens. It has "cuffs" on the leading edge of each wing which help make sure that even during a stall, there will still be enough air flowing over the wing's control surfaces to give the pilot command of the aircraft and keep a spin from happening. And if all else fails, the A5 can unleash an explosive parachute that'll at least keep you more or less alive when you hit the ground.

The way most student pilots are taught to deal with stalls is to just not get into situations where a stall is likely in the first place. That's a good philosophy, but sometimes bad things happen anyway, and the Icon A5 light sport aircraft is the first aircraft to be certified by the FAA as "spin-resistant."

Spins happen when an aircraft stalls (due to too low of a speed or too high of an angle of attack), and if there's enough yaw going on (or one wing stalls before another), the plane can start to spin, dropping towards the ground at the same time. Even in the best-case scenario, a prepared and talented pilot might need a minimum of 500 feet of altitude to recover from a spin, and if that pilot just took off or was about to land, then yeah, bad times.

It's not like the Icon A5 is just good for not getting into spins, either: it's amphibious, it comes with electrically folding wings so that it'll fit on a trailer or in a garage, and come on, it's sweet looking. Also, as a light sport aircraft, it's easier to get a license to fly one. Check out a bunch of pics of the A5 (which you can pre-order for just about $140,000) in the gallery below.

Icon Aircraft, via Wired

For the latest tech stories, follow DVICE on Twitter
at @dvice or find us on Facebook