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Say hello to the Icon A5

A small, sleek craft

Easy entry into the plane

Simplified controls

Like the A5? It will cost you

Getting ready to take off

Running through the controls

Ready to take off

Formation flying with the A5

The journey south

Skipping and bobbing across the water

Meet Icon's flight instructor

The Icon A5 is a light sport plane designed for recreational use. It's amphibious, which means it can take off from and land on ground or water. Here, it's docked near a restaurant in North Manhattan.

Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET

The A5 isn't a large craft -- it's smaller than a two-seat compact car.

Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET

The top of the craft lifts up to let passengers in and out.

Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET

The controls are streamlined compared with those of a traditional plane. Each seat has a control stick, so either person can pilot the craft.

Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET

At $189,000, the A5 isn't cheap. But there's already a long backlog, so if you put down a $5,000 deposit now, you'll get your plane sometime in 2019.

Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET

I had a chance to fly in the A5, sitting in the pilot's seat and experiencing what it's like to control a small plane.

Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET

The controls are intuitive and responsive and fairly easy to pick up.

Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET

The A5 hums quietly as it moves away from the dock. Once we get a little distance, the pilot fires up the main engine.

Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET

Icon opted to start the test flight with a bit of formation flying. We ran through turns and runs side by side with another A5.

Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET

Our test run had us flying south down the Hudson River all the way to the Statue of Liberty, where we did a few laps around the landmark before heading back.

Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET

The plane's bottom is hollowed out like a boat hull, so it's a relatively soft landing when you get to the water. The pilot brought the A5 down for a few skips and bobs before reaccelerating and lifting off again.

Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET

Sitting in the co-pilot's seat (but largely flying the plane) was Jeremy Brunn, former Navy pilot and Icon's director of flight training. You need to take a three-week course with Icon before you can take your plane home.

Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET
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