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Also, because the sport pilot license did not require an FAA medical certificate, many predicted that thousands of older pilots would also return to aviation, which would bring an upswing to the besieged light aircraft industry. An airplane for the crowds? Fun, sure -- if you have $189,000 left.

I was the only one 500 ft above the Hudson River. At the beginning of this weeks I had the opportunity to take a ride in a small aircraft named Icon I5. Seating in the cockpit of the Airbus 5 has caused a mix of reaction for someone whose flights usually mean a place in a passenger plane in economic cabin-style.

With $189,000 for the airplane, it would be an incredibly costly pastime. Vacaville, California, the icon wants to make aeronautics the next racing discipline - think of the logic evolution from an SUV or motorboat to an airplane. Start-up's d├ębut airplane, the A3 5, is the first series-produced light airplane for leisure use.

As a " light sports airplane " the A3 is available for normal humans, since it requires neither a complete pilots licence nor an extensive schooling. When you order an aeroplane today, you will receive your airplane in 2019. Whereas the first aeroplane was shipped in July, the first customer shipments will not start until next year.

Yeremy Brunn, a former naval jet driver who is now head of Icon' s flying education, was sitting next to me in the passenger seats. Our aircraft was moored at the Hudson Rivers ide, so we took off from the Hudson Rivers near North Manhattan with the aim of getting to the Statue of Liberty and back.

Following a small formational flight with a nurse named Ak5 and a few unusual turns to show the lightness of the steering, Brunn set off southwards. Icon' s challenge is to convince others that aviation is not only a means of transport, but can also be enjoyable. "Folks learn to believe that flight is dangerous," says Klaus Tritschler, Icon' VP of Engineering.

It seemed like the size of the D5 was already small when it was connected, but in height the dashboard felt almost minute, with distant windowing, so you can stretch out your arms (not that I would suggest). Mr. Titschler, who had previously worked in the car manufacturer BMW's own car department, said he wanted to give the aircraft an elegant, "tough" look.

On the way back, I felt much more at ease when I retired at the wheel and saw the airplane climb 800 ft over the George Washington Bridge. It was a very reactive airplane that was skilfully tilted to the right or right when I was moving the control - not that I had aviation expertise.

" It' s basically a look at the condition of the wing and how safe you fly. Greens are good, yellows aren't so good, and reds mean you'll probably come to a halt. At the most shocking and thrilling moments of the test run, Brunn actually lifted the ship to bring the aircraft to a standstill, set the shot angel indicator low into the crimson area, and triggered a disturbing alert.

Others in this condition could tip over, he said, but the wing designs of the A3 allows him to stay steady. Among other light sports aircraft and full-fledged aircraft, the model A3 is extremely costly. Kirk Hawkins, Icon CEO, said his aim was to lower the cost ultimately, but he cautioned that he could only go so low.

All you need is a sports flying licence, which is simpler and less expensive to purchase than a regular pilots licence. Before departing by air, you must take a three-week course. He is not worried about the possibility that these sports planes might cover the sky. "It can reach an altitude of only 10,000 ft, while airliners are over 20,000 ft.

Nevertheless, the view of an around floating motorway 5 will still be quite new. Two policemen later in the day paused in the eatery where Icon had arranged for the protest. The neighbours had phoned about two weird planes around the city. Following a brief statement, the officer giggled as they went to the jetty to inspect the planes.

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