The small aircraft former MLB star Roy Halladay was piloting when he crashed into the Gulf of Mexico and died was a newly released aircraft that already had two accidents earlier this year, one of them being fatal.
The ICON A5 is an American amphibious light-sport aircraft designed and produced by ICON Aircraft in San Francisco. The first production aircraft flew in 2014, and there have only been a handful of planes delivered to customers.
Just a few weeks ago Halladay received the first 2018 model from ICON, the "Founders Edition Aircraft."
The 40-year-old had been training on flying the A5 since last year. His death marks the third accident involving an A5 in less than seven months.
The first mishap occurred April 1 near Biscayne National Park in Florida, a factory-owned A5 suffered a "heavy landing" that caused the aircraft to take on water and submerge up to its wings. The pilot and passenger were uninjured, and the company CEO, Kirk Hawkins, claimed the accident was "pilot error."
The second incident happened May 8 when another factory-owned A5 crashed on the shore of Lake Berryessa in Napa near the company's training facility. Two ICON employees were killed in the crash, the lead engineer and chief company test pilot. Before the crash, the aircraft was seen maneuvering at very low altitude and entering a narrow canyon before impacting with the terrain. The NTSB determined the cause was "the pilot's failure to maintain clearance from terrain while maneuvering at a low altitude."
Halladay's death Tuesday marks the third major accident involving the aircraft.
Interesting to note, ICON recently posted a "Low Altitude Flying Guidelines" manual that outlines the safe protocol and procedures for flying at low altitude and maneuvering in different situations.
With the Halladay crash so recent, it remains unclear what caused the deadly accident. It's also unclear what the future will be for the A5.
ICON tells us, “We were devastated to learn that former MLB pitcher Roy Halladay died today in an accident involving an ICON A5 in the Gulf of Mexico. We have gotten to know Roy and his family in recent months, and he was a great advocate and friend of ours. The entire ICON community would like to pass on our deepest condolences to Roy’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.”