Friday, January 27, 2017

RC Flying from Snow and Water Parkzone Icon A5

As much as I do enjoy building model airplanes and flying the airplanes I build, I do have a rather large collection of Ready to Fly (RTF) foam airplanes. The radio system I use is a Spektrum DX 9 which is completely compatible with the receiver in these planes and with a model memory of over 200 models I should be good for a couple years at least. My two local hobby outlets stock some of these planes and I have always purchased them local.  These models are great to take to a park or schoolyard where I make sure I am never flying over anyone. 

Parkzone Icon A5

Assembled Model can be Stored in Original Box

In the stock of RTF models at my local hardware store I had noticed an amphibious model on the shelf for awhile; the Parkzone Icon A5. In my modeling bucket list, flying from water was something I wanted to try. When I went to the hardware store a few weeks ago to buy some music wire, I noticed many of the foam RTF planes were on sale, I decided now was the time to purchase the Icon A5. It was winter but I thought this plane should also be great for flying from the snow, and it is.

Flying from Snow
I Flew with Gloves on Sometimes

After rain over snow, the icy snow had little resistance and the Icon took off with a couple of feet.  It flies at a good speed but will slow down fairly slow to land, so much fun doing touch and go’s but what I had not noticed was the bottom of the plane was full of gouges in the snow. I filled in the largest gouge with foam held down with epoxy. Then I used clear tape over the bottom to protect it from further gouges (Thanks Dan B for the suggestion). 

Icy Snow was Tough on Foam Bottom

Last weekend it was above freezing and some rather large puddles were to be found many places, so I thought this would be a great opportunity to try flying from water. The water was really cold but it was only a couple of inches deep. On the first day of flying from water there was little wind to take off into and the plane took most of the length of the puddle to take off. Landing in the water went well but the plane sure slowed down in a hurry. Steering on the water worked well. On the next day I took off into some wind and the plane appeared to take off a little quicker. Some of the time I flew with bare hands and some of the time I wore gloves. I have purchased a transmitter mitt which should arrive soon, that way my bare fingers will be on the sticks and hopefully warm. Actually looking forward to flying from a lake when the water is warm enough to walk into.

No Outrigger Pontoons

Really Wet Snow Sticking to Bottom

The full scale Icon A5 is really an interesting airplane with features such as wings that fold back and several available safety features such as a whole airplane parachute and stall resistance features. Naturally the price is rather high coming close to $200,000. There is also another larger RC foam model of the Icon A5 available; my understanding this is a new version of the one that had been discontinued.

Bill Kuhl

Update 1/29/2017 Transmitter Mitt

I tried the transmitter mitt I just received and it appears to keep my hands warm. Trouble was it was really windy and the plane hit the ground knocking the stab off. It had come off one time before so this time I epoxied it back on.


  1. I tape the bottom of mine with packing tape, protects.

  2. Move south! Less ice, more water...

  3. Maybe when I can retire, I can spend winters in the south.