As you might know from the news, the Atol 650 LSA aircraft register ID OH-XNA had an incident at Rovaniemi while on a test flight. In fact, the forced landing on the treetops went well, but as a result of the crash, the aircraft caught fire and was completely destroyed.
The good news is that both test pilots survived the accident with no injuries from the crash, but did suffer slight burns while exiting the aircraft. The two experienced pilots are to be commended for clear thinking under difficult conditions which prevented a more serious outcome. The air frame of the Atol demonstrated its strength in this situation, as both pilots would have walked away un-injured from the crash, apart from the fire.
The crash resulted from the opening of the canopy in flight which acted as an ”air brake” and although the aircraft remained fully controllable it was unable to maintain altitude which eventually lead to the forced landing. The canopy’s uncommanded deployment is still under investigation.
OH-XNA was fully insured and will be replaced however test flights are on hold until the new aircraft is available. It is important to note the design of the canopy retraction mechanism was redesigned for production aircraft but this design had not been retrofitted onto the engineering prototype at the time of the accident and the company is reviewing all available data and will make any additional changes deemed necessary.
Production and type-approval are proceeding at the original time-table and the production process has been streamlined, responsibilities have been clarified and new people have been recruited into bottleneck areas and this work will continue towards the completion of the first production aircraft.
We’ll keep you updated as more information is available.
Atol Avion Oy
Board Of Directors