Rovaniemi, Finland is the official home of Santa Claus, but something besides Santa’s sleigh is taking flight here. In this land of the midnight sun near the Arctic Circle, Atol Avion Ltd. created the ATOL 650 Light Sport Aircraft (LSA). Imagine flying independently without needing airports. That’s the vision of Atol Avion’s aircraft designers.
Impressive First Flight
A two-seat, single-engine, wood-composite aircraft, the ATOL 650 is an amphibious seaplane that takes off and lands in three elements—water, land, and snow.
The ATOL 650 just completed its maiden flight. “The first flight went exactly as expected, ” says test pilot, CEO, and head designer Markku Koivurova. “In half an hour, the flight carried out a number of different tests, which for example ensured the plane’s behavior in multiple unexpected circumstances, such as when the plane is stalling. The flight characteristics of the ATOL were exactly as expected and the plane is very easy to fly.”
Watch the plane take off from water and land, and see its unique folding wings and compact design:
Getting to the maiden flight wasn’t easy for Koivurova. The ATOL 650 had its start with his designs developed in the 1980’s. In 1989, a storm destroyed a successful prototype, and a second prototype arose from salvaged parts and insurance money. The 1990’s brought an economic downturn to Finland, causing further challenges, until Atol Avion Ltd. was established in 2011 in an effort to renew the project.
Best Aircraft Design and Simulation Tools
In pursuing the vision of flying freely, Atol Avion wanted to build on the original design to create an aircraft with extreme beauty, strength, safety, and flying behavior. They chose PTC Creo and PTC Creo Simulate to help meet these goals.
“In cooperation with our experienced PTC Creo designers, we have been able to create the best amphibious aircraft ever, ” says Koivurova. “For our extensive needs, PTC Creo features the best design and simulation tools in the market for parametric-driven 3D models.”