LOS ANGELES, June 20, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- ICON Aircraft announced that it raised its fourth and final round of equity funding in May. The round, which totals over $60 million, included investors from North America, Europe, and Asia. The company will use the funds to complete production preparations, demonstrate regulatory compliance, ramp up full-scale aircraft production, and perform R&D to expand its model line.
"We are thrilled to have the support of such a distinguished and passionate group of investors," said Kirk Hawkins, CEO and Founder of ICON Aircraft. "For the first time in ICON's history, the company's future is no longer reliant on the whims of the capital markets, which have been highly unstable over the last five years. This D round includes an outstanding group of investors who are very committed to ICON's mission to democratize flying. The round was led by a top-notch privately held strategic investor from China. The entire round represents a minority, non-controlling interest in ICON which ensures ICON's original mission and strategy remains completely intact; the A5 will be U.S.-built, and the company will continue to be a U.S.-based, -led, and -managed organization."
ICON is backed by a strong syndicate of North American, European, and now Asian investors. The participation of ICON's Asian investor serves an important strategic goal of positioning ICON to capitalize on Asia's rapidly growing General Aviation industry. This investor is a multibillion-dollar conglomerate and is well established in the Chinese General Aviation industry, which makes the collaboration especially valuable to ICON.
In a letter to A5 deposit holders, Hawkins acknowledged the production delays of the A5 and thanked owners for their continued patience and enthusiasm. He also pointed out that the extra development time permitted significant improvements to the A5 amphibious Light Sport Aircraft, including the inclusion of a Spin-Resistant Airframe (SRA). The company's order list has continued to grow during this period, with nearly 1,000 aircraft deposits.
"Creating a great aircraft and a great company from scratch is an extraordinarily difficult task," added Hawkins. "Furthermore, financing such an endeavor is an order of magnitude harder than just creating it—and fundraising is particularly difficult for aviation startups. This has been a longer and more challenging journey than even we had anticipated; that said, ICON is now in a great place. For everyone who has kept the faith, remained a great wingman, and waited patiently for the A5, you're going to get the most amazing sport aircraft ever created."
For more information, visit www.iconaircraft.com.
ABOUT ICON AIRCRAFT:
ICON Aircraft is a consumer sport plane manufacturer founded in response to the new sport flying category created by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in 2004. ICON's first plane is the A5, an amphibious sport aircraft that fuses outstanding aeronautical engineering with world-class product design. It has won some of the world's most prestigious design awards and has inspired a global following. The company has received more than 940 order deposits and has started manufacturing components of the first production aircraft. ICON Aircraft's facilities are in Southern California, a hotbed for automotive design and aerospace engineering.
ABOUT FAA LIGHT SPORT AIRCRAFT & SPORT PILOT CLASSIFICATIONS:
In 2004, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) created a new classification of easy-to-fly and affordable two-person airplanes called Light Sport Aircraft. These airplanes enable a new classification of Sport Pilots to fly in lower altitude, uncongested airspace, during the daytime, and in good weather. The Sport Pilot License focuses on the fundamentals of flying and requires a minimum of 20 hours of in-flight training, undercutting the time and cost of a traditional Private Pilot License by about 50%. The Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) has described the new rules as "the biggest change in aviation in 50 years."
SOURCE ICON Aircraft