Atol Avion, a Finnish company making a new class of high-performance flying amphibious aircraft, announced that Brunswick Landing in Maine will become its U.S. headquarters and production base.
According to Atol USA Inc., the joint venture of Atol Avion and its American investor, the flying aircraft, known as the Atol 650, is made of carbon fiber, aluminum, Kevlar and wood composites. Paul Richards, Atol USA’s president, calls it “a serious adventure machine … and it’s a blast to fly.”
The Atol 650 has an empty weight of 375 kg (826 lb), a maximum take-off weight of 650 kg (1430 lb) and a payload of 275 kg (604 lb). It is 24′ 5″ long and has a wingspan of 29′ 6″. It has an 805-mile range, can reach a cruising speed of 106 mph and has a fuel capacity of 128 liters (34 gallons).
While the North American market is the largest for personal aircraft, Atol USA isn’t expected to compete with established light aircraft manufacturers like Cessna. The Atol 650, Richards said, will cost less than a Cessna but won’t be rated for commercial use, and it will be limited to two occupants.
Richards said his company will employ 50 to 100 people when manufacturing ramps up. It will begin leasing space May 1 for its U.S. headquarters.
According to AP, the plane is already undergoing European certification and will begin certification with the Federal Aviation Administration within 60 days. Because it falls under the “light sport aircraft” category, FAA certification is expected to be swift, though it’ll still take about a year, Richards said.