Flying a sports car with wings

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By Sarah Sekula, published on cnn.com // photos by ICON Aircraft

TAMPA, FLORIDA (CNN) — When it comes to piloting a plane, I have zero experience. In fact, I’ve never even considered attempting it. Nevertheless, as we swoop over Florida’s Tampa Bay on a gorgeous November morning, I enthusiastically take over the controls of the ICON A5, a two-seater amphibious plane that looks like a sports car, maneuvers like a jet ski and is so intuitive, the company says that even a novice can learn to fly it in less than 30 hours.

At 23 feet long and weighing in a 1,510 pounds, it’s known as a sea light-sport aircraft. Designed to help you focus on the freedom of flying without worrying if the plane will react unpredictably, there’s nothing else quite like it on the market.Now that I’m in control, my whole body tenses for a good five minutes. Am I really ready to pilot this shiny new machine all by myself? I’m not entirely sure.

However, I take comfort in the fact that the A5 was built specifically for people like me, and it was designed to drive like a car.Plus, the fact that Icon’s CEO and founder, Kirk Hawkins, is next to me in the cockpit doesn’t hurt either. He can take over the controls at any time.

So far, so good.