This week Jason Paur of Wired had a very nice item about the next step in Icon's evolution. This is its certification as a "spin-resistant" aircraft, one built to minimize (though not absolutely eliminate) the chance of the pilot getting into the very perilous flight condition known as a "stall-spin."
Paur does a great job of explaining exactly how stalls and spins develop; why they are so dangerous; and what it took for Icon to win certification as "spin-resistant." The kind of airplane that I have owned and flown since 2000, the Cirrus SR20 and SR22, had many more safeguards against stall-spins than most previous models, but the Icon is the first to be certified as "spin-resistant." Lots more background, linkage, and explanation at Wired.
Over the years I've done a number of these practice spin-recovery drills, on the theory that familiarity with unusual situations makes you safer in normal conditions. You do it in specially spin-certified planes; you climb many thousands of feet above ground level for a margin of safety; and often you're required to be wearing a parachute just in case. I don't enjoy this sort of "unusual attitude" flying, but I'm glad to know what a spin and recovery feel like -- as an extra incentive to stay out of these circumstances in normal flying. Glad that Icon has won this new distinction.
One more "flying boat" shot before I go: