With Roy Halladay's Death, Icon A5 Plane Has Second Fatal Crash This Year

CNN/Stylemagazine.com Newswire | 11/8/2017, 7:41 a.m.
Designed to make flying simple, the Icon A5 has been described as a sports car with wings that maneuvers like …
Former MLB pitcher Roy Halladay

By Madison Park, CNN

(CNN) -- Designed to make flying simple, the Icon A5 has been described as a sports car with wings that maneuvers like a Jet Ski.

Former MLB pitcher Roy Halladay died Tuesday in a plane crash in the A5, which was found upside down in shallow water off Florida's Gulf Coast. Halladay, 40, was the only person on the two-seater plane.

It was the second fatal crash involving the A5 this year.

In May, Jon Karkow, Icon's chief test pilot who was responsible for the plane's design, died in a crash in California. Cagri Sever, a new employee who was in the passenger's seat, also was killed.

The National Transportation Safety Board concluded that the probable cause of that accident was pilot error. The plane had been flying at Lake Berryessa, a reservoir with coves, canyons and steep rising terrain.

"It is likely that the pilot mistakenly thought the canyon that he entered was a different canyon that led to the larger, open portion of the lake," according to the NTSB's aviation accident report.

Instead, there was no exit from that canyon. "The airplane would have not been able to climb out of the rising terrain that surrounded the area, which led to his failure to maintain clearance from terrain," according to the NTSB report.

In a May statement, Shane Sullivan, Icon's director of flight, said, "We're unsure why the plane flew into such a narrow canyon that had no outlet."

Icon initially suspended all flight operations of the A5 fleet after the accident but resumed them after NTSB's preliminary report.

The NTSB will investigate the latest crash involving Halladay.

The certification for the plane was issued Monday, meaning the aircraft was brand new, according to the Federal Aviation Administration's website.

There were no distress calls from the plane, the Pasco County, Florida, Sheriff's Office said.

Icon Aircraft expressed its condolences to Halladay's family and friends.

"Icon will do everything it can to support the accident investigation going forward and we will comment further when more information is available," a statement said.

Icon A5s are considered light, amphibious airplanes. They can land on water or land, have folding wings and can be transported by trailers.

The controls of the Icon A5 have been likened to that of a sports car. It has been described as so intuitive that the company said even a novice can learn to fly in less than 30 hours.

The recreational aircraft can be flown by anyone holding a sport pilot license -- which takes about half the time to get as a standard license.

The first production units were delivered in July 2015.

In a video about the A5 that the company removed but was preserved elsewhere, Halladay said he grew up around airplanes, because his dad was a pilot.

The former pitcher said he always wanted to get his pilot's license but wasn't able to do so while playing baseball. After retirement, Halladay pursued his love of flight.