Organized Wonder

Kirk Hawkins: ICON Aircraft

Kirk Hawkins spent eight years flying F-16 fighter jets for the US Air Force. But when he left the military and went back to study at Stanford Graduate School of Business, he says he was ready to swap his flight suit for a business suit. That was until he read an obscure article in a trade magazine about a pending Federal Aviation Administration rule change that would create a new class of light sport aircraft and make it quicker and easier for recreational pilots to get a license. So he teamed up with Steen Strand, a former classmate from his Stanford graduate engineering program, to design an amphibious plane that could take off from an airstrip or a lake, fit on a boat trailer and would sell for the price of a luxury car. Together they formed a company called ICON Aircraft, and spent years refining the design of their first model model, which they called the A5. Now, the plane that Kirk first envisioned at business school is scheduled to start rolling off the production line later this year.