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Looking for more of Broadway’s ‘Hamilton’? There is now an app for that

Why it matters to you

If you’re a Hamilton fan, this app will give you the full experience even after the show is over. It includes different interactive features, exclusive content, and a chance to enter the ticket lottery.

Even if you are not into Broadway shows or musicals at all for that matter, you have most likely still heard of Hamilton. Since obtaining tickets to the incredibly acclaimed production is an almost impossible task, there is now an app to help make it a bit easier.

Lin-Manuel Miranda — who created and starred in Hamilton — along with producer Jeffrey Seller, released the app to give fans an extended Hamilton experience. With different features for fans to use, it allows them to continue the show in an engaging way even after it is long over.

Tickets for Hamilton sell out extremely quickly but with the app, you will be able to access the #Ham4Ham ticket lottery. You can enter to win two tickets for $10 each to see the show currently running on a national tour in Los Angeles, or in New York and Chicago at the end of August. The app will also provide you with information about any new tickets before anyone else hears about it.

When interacting with friends — and fellow Hamilton fans — there are shareable stickers that you can send within your conversations. The packs include designed lyric stickers along with Hamilton emojis, and fan art from all around the world. Users can even submit their own art for a chance to be included in future sticker packs. Among other features is the #HamCam, which transforms you into a character from the show. Similar to Snapchat filters, you can use them to snap different Hamilton-themed photos of yourself.

For more exclusive items, the merchandise store offers apparel, souvenirs, and streamable music to download to your device — such as the Hamilton mixtape. You even have access to news created by Hamilton‘s editorial staff, such as articles written by the cast or creative team, and videos from Miranda, among other content.

Since the app is only in its first phase, there will be frequent updates. Future features include augmented reality, interactive karaoke tracks, and exclusive ticket access. The app will also soon include an enhanced #EduHam experience — which is a program that provides New York City public school students with the chance to see Hamilton on Broadway and integrate it into the classroom. You can download the app for iOS through the App Store and for Android on the Google Play Store.


Best iOS app deals of the day! 6 paid iPhone apps for free for a limited time

Everyone likes Apple apps, but sometimes the best ones are a bit expensive. Now and then, developers put paid apps on sale for free for a limited time, but you have to snatch them up while you have the chance. Here are the latest and greatest iOS app deals available from the iOS App Store.

These apps normally cost money and this sale lasts for a limited time only. If you go to the App Store and it says the app costs money, that means the deal has expired and you will be charged. 

Xmart Calculator

Xmart Calculator Pro is an intelligent salary and financial calculator and accounting app, as well as an audit checker capable of solving complex math equations based on text expression.

Available on:


Happy Hypnosis

Lift your spirits with an encouraging and uplifting hypnotherapy session by Rachael Meddows Hypnosis. Don’t forget to snap out of it!

Available on:


White Noise +

This app promises to be one of the best white noise tools on the app store. It allows you to create and save over 400,000 sound atmospheres and mix your favorite sounds together.

Available on:



Shake for a flashlight and swipe for a compass. Shake! is your friendly outdoor companion that also displays weather data for your current location.

Available on:



Unlocking your phone has never been been more entertaining. Give your lock screen a little makeover with Slick.

Available on:



Coyn promises to be a simple, secure, and stylish way to manage your cash. Coyn respects your privacy and will never allow your data to be posted to any websites, bank accounts, or cloud services.

Available on:



Bluetooth 5 and the HTC U11: You had it all along


Support for Bluetooth 5 requires hardware and software. We’ve had the hardware support since day one.

You may have heard that Bluetooth 5.0 is coming to the HTC U11 with the Android O update. Of course, there is more to the story because updates and new technology are never that simple. Because Bluetooth 5 is new (the standard itself was only recently finalized) there’s a bit of confusion about what it is and what it can do. We wanted to try and end the confusion and sort out what Bluetooth 5 is today, how it is supported and exactly what to expect when it gets here.

We knew this would take an expert. HTC’s Darren Sng took the time to chat with us about Bluetooth 5 and how it fits in with the HTC U11 and Android O to clear up all the confusion and answer all the questions surrounding it. It was an enlightening conversation, and we want to thank Mr. Sng for working around time zones and busy schedules so that we can all have a better grasp on what to expect.

What consumer benefits does Bluetooth 5 offer?


This is the big question for all of us. Knowing that support is on the way is great and something we can look forward to, but what we really want to know is what it brings to the table.

The Bluetooth 5 standard offers three fundamental improvements over previous versions: data transmissions speeds are twice as fast, data transmission distance is four times greater, and data broadcasting contains eight times the information. Other improvements include slot availability masking and new channel selection algorithms, which help prevent data loss by keeping away from transmission channels that are active for Wi-Fi or LTE. The standard was designed to give us better Bluetooth connections and faster data transfer, especially for BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) devices.

Bluetooth 5 promises to be faster and work across a longer distance.

BLE specifications for audio transmission aren’t yet finalized. The Bluetooth Special Interest Group says this will be finished by the end of 2017 and audio routing will be done over the low energy radio, which means Bluetooth 5 improvements will apply to our headsets and wireless speakers, too.

Finally, Bluetooth Low Energy mesh standards are being developed so that these improvements can work in a “many to many” (multiple devices all talking to each other) configuration. This will further improve transmission range and streamline applications and installations that use Bluetooth Low Energy.

Of course, the Bluetooth standard is constantly evolving and we’ll likely see more improvements and benefits over time. But this is what Bluetooth 5 has to offer right now, with a huge caveat: you’ll need all devices to support Bluetooth 5 to see any of them. We’ve not yet heard of any company offering Bluetooth 5 accessories, but we’re sure they are in the works.

What benefits of Bluetooth 5 come with Android O and the HTC U11?


Having a new standard is all well and good, but you also need support for features from both the hardware and the underlying operating system software. A lot of work falls on the shoulders of Google, HTC, and Qualcomm in this situation.

If you take an HTC U11 out of the box, here’s how it supports Bluetooth 5:

  • Two times faster data transmission speeds over Low Energy is fully supported.
  • Four times greater data transmission distances is not supported.
  • Eight times more information in broadcast data is partially supported, with five of the seven required capabilities in use.

A Bluetooth 5 device doesn’t have to support all the new features to be certified. As long as the latest Bluetooth ESR (Errata Service Release) has been adopted, partial support is fine. This makes sense once you consider that Bluetooth is used across a wide range of devices and a beacon doesn’t need to support the same things a smartwatch does. By supporting specific needs, devices can save power and become compliant faster. You can see exactly what hardware is required to support to be Bluetooth 5 ready at

Mr. Sng was kind enough to share the exact system specifications required to fully support Bluetooth 5 along with notes about compliance of the hardware and device driver software used in the HTC U11 and the Samsung Galaxy S8 — the only existing Android phone that claims to be Bluetooth 5 compliant.


As you can see, different hardware configurations mean different existing support for Bluetooth 5 improvements. These can change as component vendors are working to support everything in the list. But hardware is only one part of the equation, and we also need to understand what Android supports. Thankfully, that’s a bit more simple.

  • Android N does not support Bluetooth 5 features.
  • Android O will support Bluetooth 5 natively.

More important, since there are no Bluetooth 5 peripherals, Android O also has support for backward compatibility. Bluetooth 4.2 and Bluetooth 5 use the same hardware RF (Radio Frequency) specifications and when a Bluetooth 5 device is connected to a Bluetooth 4.2 device, the Bluetooth 5 device becomes fully backward compatible with all parts of the Bluetooth 4.2 standard. Your headphones will work flawlessly until you pick up a new pair in 2018 that are Bluetooth 5 Low Energy compatible.

The HTC U11 is capable, but Android isn’t ready just yet.

One last bit of confusion to clear up is dual audio support. The simultaneous dual audio feature is a proprietary feature of Qualcomm and Broadcom and is not part of the Bluetooth 5 standard and isn’t mentioned as being in the works for any future enhancement. Dual audio uses the Dual-A2DP profile and is supported on Bluetooth 4.2 and Bluetooth 5. This is why your Bluetooth 4.2 headphones work with the dual audio feature of the Galaxy S8.

How will the Android O update support Bluetooth 5?


Easy: it really doesn’t. At least on the hardware side because the U11 has always been Bluetooth 5 capable.

Again, we look to the Galaxy S8 because it’s the only phone that currently claims Bluetooth 5 support. The HTC U11 already features all the hardware and software driver support listed in the section above for Bluetooth 5 but has only recently been Bluetooth 5 certified. This is the same level of support the Galaxy S8 was able to advertise when it launched, and until Android O is available none of it really matters.

Bluetooth 5 support comes with the Snapdragon 835 and its WCN3990 companion chip.

Your HTC U11 already has Bluetooth 5 hardware support at the chipset level. The Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 (MSM8998) features the WCN3990 chip which provides 802.11 ac Wi-Fi, FM radio and Bluetooth 5.x support. This is provided by Qualcomm’s low-level firmware and hardware “drivers” and the company who made the phone using the SoC (System on Chip) only needs to do two things: be listed as compliant by the Bluetooth SIG, and provide operating system support. Not being certified didn’t take the features away, it just wasn’t required until the operating system could use any of them.

That’s where Android O comes into play. Android 7 doesn’t offer support for any of the new Bluetooth 5 features in the Bluetooth stack, but Android 8 does. The developer documentation for API 26 (that’s Android O) covers the new LE features that make the operating system able to use Bluetooth 5.0.

But remember, you still need two Bluetooth 5 capable devices. When Android O arrives there will be several phones that are Bluetooth 5 capable and able to use the new features through software. Most will support the same basic features (some details may be different based on exactly what chip is being used and the configuration, see the U11 and Galaxy S8 comparison above).

Android O provides the object and methods to use Bluetooth 5 on hardware that already supports it.

According to Mr. Sng, with Android O you could pair an HTC U11 to a Galaxy S8 (for example) and you would expect to see faster data transmission speeds since both phones support that part of the standard. You wouldn’t see better range because that particular feature isn’t yet supported. If you were to write an application that made one of the phones act as a BLE beacon, you wouldn’t see the larger advertising packets because the standard isn’t fully supported and one device currently supports it differently at the hardware level than the other.

Right now, none of this really matters. There are no Bluetooth 5 devices available to consumers and the ones being developed may take a while to hit the shelves. But when it comes to faster data speeds using Bluetooth 5 the HTC U11 is ready for them as soon as Android supports it.


  • HTC U11 review
  • HTC U11 specs
  • Manufacturing the U11: Behind the scenes
  • Join our U11 forums
  • HTC U11 vs Galaxy S8
  • HTC U11 vs LG G6



Don’t throw away your shot at awesome content with the official Hamilton app

Hamilton has taken over Broadway and pop culture. What comes next?


Hamilton is a Tony-winning, Grammy-winning, Twitter-breaking uniquely American musical phenomenon. It’s all over our playlists. It’s all over the news. It’s all over social media, and now Hamilton is all over our phones. That’s right, Hamilton: The Musical is launching Hamilton: The App!


Hamilton’s new app is a practical download for anyone in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, or any city along the acclaimed musical’s national tour, because you’re going to be able to quickly and easily sign up for the daily $10 lottery for last-minute tickets. The lottery is live in app for LA, but it’ll go live for Chicago and New York later this month.


If you live outside driving-like-a-maniac-to-the-theater distance, there’s a lot here still to love:

  • Get all the latest Hamilton news, including when new ticket blocks go up for sale, backstage content, and original content by the cast and creative team, and exclusive videos from modern renaissance man and Hamilton mastermind Lin-Manuel Miranda.
  • #HamArt stickers let you share your Hamilton enthusiasm with all your family and friends across your favorite apps. Aspiring artists, you’ll also be able to submit art to become a sticker down the line!
  • #HamCam is a photo frame and filter pack to give your photos some founding father flair and patriotic pop.
  • You’ll be able to buy app-exclusive merchandise from the Hamilton store. As if you didn’t own the album already, you’ll be able to of course download or stream the Hamilton cast recording, or the Hamilton Mixtape.


Even if this “opening act” doesn’t have you satisfied, there’s more fun promised in the coming months with the Hamilton app. The teasing list includes a new, enhanced #EduHam experience to help expose even more kids to the magic of theater, music and history than the dedicated performances a few lucky kids in the northeast get to see. Also mentioned is an augmented reality experience of some kind, exclusive ticket opportunities, and interactive karaoke, which I intend to sing non-stop.

If you can’t wait for it anymore, the Hamilton app is available for download today on Google Play. Let’s raise a glass to the revolution, and teach ’em how to say goodbye to their free time.


Snapdragon 660: Benchmarks, impressions and everything you need to know!


The long-awaited successor to the Snapdragon 653 is here.

Qualcomm made the switch to the 14nm manufacturing node with the Snapdragon 820, which started rolling out at the beginning of 2016. The company also made the 14nm node accessible to the mid-range segment with the Snapdragon 625, the successor to the Snapdragon 617. The 14 FinFET node allowed for vastly increased efficiency, with the SD625 consuming 35% less energy when compared to the 28nm SD617.

As a result, the Snapdragon 625 turned out to be extremely popular, powering everything from the $150 Redmi Note 4 to the $500 BlackBerry KEYone. Looking ahead to the latter half of 2017, Qualcomm has rolled out key updates to the Snapdragon 600 series with two new chipsets — the Snapdragon 630 and the Snapdragon 660.

The Snapdragon 630 is the direct successor to the Snapdragon 625, offering 30% faster cores, support for Bluetooth 5, a faster LTE modem, USB 3.1 with USB-C, a new ISP, and Quick Charge 4.0.

The Snapdragon 660 is the more interesting of the two, as it is the successor to the Snapdragon 653. The Snapdragon 660 is designed to bring flagship-class performance to the mid-range segment, with Qualcomm rolling out a slew of updates.

The chipset features custom Kryo cores — a first for this segment, a new Adreno 512 GPU, Snapdragon X12 LTE modem with download speeds of 600Mbps and 3x carrier aggregation, Wi-Fi ac with 2×2 MU-MIMO, a Spectra 160 image signal processor, Bluetooth 5, Quick Charge 4.0, and USB 3.1. Qualcomm is touting a 20% increase in performance when compared to the SD653 from the new Kryo 260 cores, and a 30% uptick for the GPU.

Before we delve in, a look at the specs on offer with the Snapdragon 660.

Snapdragon 660 specs


CPU Four 2.2GHz Kryo 260 coresFour 1.8GHz Kryo 260 cores Four 1.95GHz Cortex A72 coresFour 1.44GHz Cortex A53 cores
GPU Adreno 512850MHz Adreno 510600MHz
Memory Dual-channel LPDDR4 at 1866MHz29.9GB/s Dual-channel LPDDR3 at 933MHz14.9GB/s
LTE Snapdragon X12 LTE (Cat. 12)600Mbps downlink, 150Mbps uplink3x20MHz CA, 256-QAM Snapdragon X9 LTE (Cat. 7)300Mbps downlink, 150Mbps uplink2x20MHz CA, 64-QAM
Wi-Fi Wi-Fi ac Wave2 Max 867Mbps throughput2x2 MU-MIMO Wi-Fi ac Wave2Max 433Mbps throughput
ISP 14-bit Spectra 16024MP single, dual 16MPZero shutter lag, hybrid autofocus, optical zoom Dual ISP21MP single
Bluetooth Bluetooth 5 Bluetooth 4.1
Fast charging Quick Charge 4.0 Quick Charge 3.0
Node 14nm LPP (Low Power Plus) 28nm HPm (High Performance Mobile)

There’s no information on the underlying ARM core the Kryo 260 is based on, but it’s likely Qualcomm is using a semi-custom design, much like what it did with the Kryo 280 on the Snapdragon 835. The core configuration is split into two sectors — performance and efficiency, with the former featuring four 2.2GHz cores and the latter four 1.8GHz cores.

The Spectra 160 is particularly interesting, as it enables a lot of camera experiences that have thus far been limited to flagship chipsets. The ISP supports hybrid autofocus, dual rear camera setups (up to 16MP for each imaging sensor), dual photodiode autofocus, smooth optical zoom, and EIS for video.

Snapdragon 660 benchmarks


The OPPO R11 is the first phone to feature the Snapdragon 660, and it gives us an early look at how the Snapdragon 660 fares when compared to the likes of the Snapdragon 652, Snapdragon 835, and others.


AnTuTu Benchmark

OPPO R11 (SD660) 118525
Smartron (SD652) 78923
Xiaomi Mi 6 (SD835) 158292
Samsung Galaxy S8+ (Exynos 8895) 170219
Google Pixel XL (SD821) 132728
Lenovo Z2 Plus (SD820) 133341
Moto Z2 Play (SD626) 68644
Redmi Note 4 (SD625) 62230


Geekbench 4.0

OPPO R11 (SD660) 1608 5848
Smartron (SD652) 1425 2815
Xiaomi Mi 6 (SD835) 1919 6095
Samsung Galaxy S8+ (Exynos 8895) 1996 6441
Google Pixel XL (SD821) 1604 4162
Lenovo Z2 Plus (SD820) 1692 3239
Moto Z2 Play (SD626) 911 4594
Redmi Note 4 (SD625) 843 2754


Basemark OS II

OPPO R11 (SD660) 2326
Smartron (SD652) 1535
Xiaomi Mi 6 (SD835) 3424
Samsung Galaxy S8+ (Exynos 8895) 2597
Google Pixel XL (SD821) 2340
Lenovo Z2 Plus (SD820) 2127
Moto Z2 Play (SD626) 1221
Redmi Note 4 (SD625) 1082

Octane 2.0

Google Octane 2.0

OPPO R11 (SD660) 9342
Smartron (SD652) 8683
Xiaomi Mi 6 (SD835) 11658
Samsung Galaxy S8+ (Exynos 8895) 8076
Google Pixel XL (SD821) 8032
Lenovo Z2 Plus (SD820) 6364
Moto Z2 Play (SD626) 4828
Redmi Note 4 (SD625) 3887


GFXBench GL Benchmark

OPPO R11 (SD660) 8.6 15
Smartron (SD652) 5.9 9.9
Xiaomi Mi 6 (SD835) 22 37
Samsung Galaxy S8+ (Exynos 8895) 25 41
Google Pixel XL (SD821) 19 30
Lenovo Z2 Plus (SD820) 19 32
Moto Z2 Play (SD626) 3.5 6.5
Redmi Note 4 (SD625) 3.4 6.2


3DMark (Sling Shot Extreme)

OPPO R11 (SD660) 1354
Smartron (SD652) 900
Xiaomi Mi 6 (SD835) 3321
Samsung Galaxy S8+ (Exynos 8895) 2575
Google Pixel XL (SD821) 2655
Lenovo Z2 Plus (SD820) 2347
Moto Z2 Play (SD626) 469
Redmi Note 4 (SD625) 455

The benchmarks show a performance increase across the board for the Snapdragon 660, with the chipset coming close to last year’s flagship SoCs. That’s consistent with what I’ve seen in the two weeks I used the R11. There’s a noticeable uptick in battery life as well from the likes of the Snapdragon 650/652/653.

For now, the main issue with the Snapdragon 660 is its availability, or lack thereof. The OPPO R11 is limited to Asia, and won’t be available outside of the region anytime soon. More devices powered by the Snapdragon 660 should be rolling out in Q4, and if recent rumors are any indication, the Moto X4 will be the first phone to be powered by the Snapdragon 660 in the U.S.

Once it becomes mainstream, I think it will quickly become one of the most popular mid-range chips on the market; from a CPU perspective, it benchmarks close to the Snapdragon 835 in some respects, and handily beats every other budget SoC on the market. Lots to look forward to!


How to play GameCube and Wii games with Dolphin VR

How do I set up the Dolphin VR emulator for Rift and Vive?

The world of VR attracts many players and developers into its fold, and one result is Dolphin VR, a Nintendo GameCube and Wii emulator for Oculus Rift and HTC Vive. That’s right; as long as you have some old games lying around that you can rip into an ISO file, you can be playing them in your head-mounted display. Let’s take a look at how to get Dolphin VR set up!

Read more at VRHeads!


Get 5 Overwatch loot boxes free with Twitch Prime

Our friends at Thrifter are back again, this time with a way to get 5 free Overwatch loot boxes!

So this deal is pretty simple. If you own the video game Overwatch and you’re an Amazon Prime member, you can get 5 free loot boxes for the game. The loot boxes come from Twitch Prime, which is included with an Amazon Prime membership. You can still get the Overwatch Golden Loot Box that was released previously, and you can expect 5 more loot boxes to be released in October. This deal is good from Aug 10 to Sept 10.


Since Twitch is now owned by Amazon, Twitch Prime is basically a side benefit of being an Amazon Prime member. It gets you ad-free streaming on Twitch, a free monthly subscription to use on your favorite streamer, and access to awesome exclusive content like this deal. If you want to learn more about the program, check out the Windows Central article on it.

If you aren’t a member of Amazon Prime, and subsequently not a member of Twitch Prime, but you want to be, you can sign up here.

Overwatch is not the only game that releases exclusive content on Twitch. So far they’ve done tons of games like PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, Warframe, For Honor, and many others. This is a deal that will never die so keep a look out for your favorite games.

If you don’t have Overwatch yet, you can get it for PC, Xbox One, or PlayStation 4, and this deal works with every platform.

If you need a console to play it on, there are a couple of great Xbox One S bundle deals going on right now, too.

See on Twitch

More from Thrifter

  • Tips for becoming an expert eBay seller
  • How to avoid baggage fees

For more great deals be sure to check out our friends at Thrifter now!


Here are July’s winners of the Honor/Huawei incentive program!

These are the lucky July winners of some cool Huawei/Honor swag.

There’s nothing like being a cool person on the internet and winning great gadgets while doing so. But with our Huawei/Honor Community Incentive Program, you can do just that! The basis is pretty simple: be an active, engaged and friendly member of the Huawei or Honor communities in our forums to win great stuff.


Here are the winners from July:

  • Guytronic — Congrats, you’ve won an Honor 6X!
  • B. Diddy — Congrats, you’ve won an Honor Band Z!
  • cert15z — Congrats, you’ve won an Honor Band Z!

We’ve already halfway into August, but there’s still plenty of time to get to the top of the charts and win some amazing stuff! All you need to do is be active our Huawei/Honor communities!

Learn more about the Huawei/Honor Incentive Program!


These Card Holders Work With Any Phone Case, Let You Leave Wallet at Home


Want to carry around your cash and cards but don’t like wallet cases? Check out these card and cash holders that will work with any phone!

Sometimes it’s nice to have the option to leave your bulky wallet at home and only carry around a little bit of cash and a few valuable cards around with you. Wallet cases for your cell phone are a standard solution to this problem; however, wallet cases can be bulky and lack the protection you need to keep your phone safe.

Adhesive card holders will affix to the back of any phone or phone case you have and give you the ability to lug a few cards around with you; here are a few of our favorites!

Cell Phone Wallet by Cellessentials


The simple design of the Cell Phone Wallet by Cellessentials is perfect for carrying around your credit card and ID without standing out from your phone or cases design too much.

The 3M adhesive on the back will stick to any surface, and shouldn’t leave any gooey residue on the back of your phone. Plus, the card holder is big enough to fit three cards inside, meaning you should be able to carry all your important ones.

Cell Phone Wallet by Cellessentials comes in a three pack and three colors (black, gray, or white) for around $7.

See at Amazon

CardNinja Cell Phone Wallet


The high-rated adhesive card holder on Amazon, the CardNinja Cell Phone Wallet has an average of 4.5 stars with over 1,400 reviews.

The CardNinja claims to be able to hold up to four cards at once, thanks to its stretchy spandex-like compartment. This material also has the added benefit of making sure your cards stay in place and don’t fall out.

The 3M adhesive makes installation a breeze, and you can rest easy knowing no sticky residue will be left behind.

The CardNinja Cell Phone Wallet costs around $12 and comes in a wide variety of colors such as black, gold, and blue raspberry. Plus, you can also pick one up with a fancy pattern if you’d like it to stand out from the crowd.

See at Aamzon

Bellagio Italia Leather Folding Phone Wallet


If you’re looking for a card holder that provides a more prestigious look, the Bellagio Italia Leather Folding Phone Wallet could be for you.

Made from leather, this card holder looks more like a conventional wallet or billfold. It can hold up to four cards at a time, meaning you shouldn’t have to leave an important one at home, and it can close making sure your cards are securely in place.

Bellagio Italia Leather Folding Phone Wallet will add some extra bulk to your phone as it is roughly half an inch thick when closed and it will also cost you a little bit more (approximately $14) for the premium materials

See at Amazon

Tell us what you think?

Do you like these adhesive card holders? Let us know in the comments below!


Pilot error caused fatal Icon A5 plane crash, NTSB says

The US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has determined that the Icon A5 crash that killed two Icon employees was caused by pilot error and not a problem with the aircraft. The final determination was a “failure to maintain clearance from terrain while maneuvering at a low altitude,” the report states. The situation was caused by a “mistaken entry into a canyon surrounded by steep rising terrain while at a low altitude for reasons that could not be determined.”

A witness said the amphibious plane was flying low over a lake “and entered a nearby cove, which was surrounded by rising terrain on either side … [when] he heard the engine ‘rev up and accelerate hard.’” He heard the sound of an impact shortly after losing sight of the plane. “It is likely that the pilot mistakenly thought the canyon he entered was a different canyon that led to the larger, open portion of the lake,” the NTSB wrote.

The accident is tragic and Icon mourns the loss of two employees, but the finding shows there’s nothing wrong with the plane itself. Buyers can thus feel safe, and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which recently certified the A5 in the light-sport category, can be satisfied with its decision.

The amphibious aircraft, which Engadget’s Chris Velazco had the chance to fly a couple years ago, is unique for its relatively low price ($250,000), great looks, complete airplane parachute (CAP, above), foldable wings and land or sea capability. Unlike most private airplanes, the built-in pontoons let you take it onto small lakes, opening up a lot more places to use it. At the same time, you can cruise at a respectable 95 mph, not bad for a seaplane powered by a 100 horsepower Rotax motor.

The aircraft has numerous safety features besides the parachute, including an angle-of-attack gauge to help pilots avoid loss-of-control stalls, and a spin-resistant, composite airframe. Nevertheless, learning to pilot on water is a challenge and light-sport pilots can fly with after training for fewer hours than fully certified private pilots (20 hours compared to around 40 hours).

Rising terrain accidents are one of the most common accidents in light aircraft, and usually result in fatalities. However, they usually happen when pilots blunder into inclement weather conditions. In this case, the weather was clear, and it seems like a very unfortunate case of mistaken knowledge about the lay of the land.

Via: Fast Co.

Source: NTSB

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