Atol Amphib Nears First Flight

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In a factory above the Arctic Circle, workers this week are hard at work -- not making toys, but finishing up the newest updated version of the Atol Amphibian, a Finnish design that has been flying since the 1990s as a homebuilt. "We have redesigned and modernized it totally, by using the newest technology and materials to meet today's markets and demands," company co-founder Anssi Rekula told AVweb this week. The company plans to offer the airplane as an LSA in Europe and the U.S. "The new Atol is almost ready for its maiden flight," Rekula said. The company has recently closed on a financial package that will allow production to begin in January, he said, with first deliveries next summer. The airplane will be on display and for sale at both Aero Friedrichshafen in April, and at EAA AirVenture in July.

Rekula said the amphibian will carry up to 680 pounds, and it can be equipped to fly on skis. An optional precision water steering system enables quiet and precise docking, and a rear-hinged canopy makes it easy to get in and out without getting wet feet. The wings can fold for storage, and an automatic folding mechanism is offered as an option. The aircraft structure is formed from a "modern wood composite (birch with PVC foam in between)," according to the company website. It's powered by a Rotax 912iS engine. Rekula said the company has three confirmed orders for the aircraft, and plans to start deliveries next summer. The production goal for 2014 is five or six airplanes, with double that many in subsequent years. The aircraft is priced at about $200,000, fully equipped.

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