Airbus was planning to make a historical crossing of the English Channel today at 10 am in its innovative E-Fan demonstrator powered by a Siemens electric motor. However Hugues Duval has already successfully completed the crossing day before them in a tiny electric Cri Cri, beating Airbus by a nose!
A couple of days ago another attempt to cross the Channel in an electric plane could have been successful by Slovenian company Pipistrel flying with its Alpha Electro propeller plane, but the flight, which was scheduled for Tuesday, was called off. Pipistrel received an urgent letter from Siemens ordering them to stop any further use of the motor Siemens has rented to them due to contract issues.
And so, last night a French pilot named Hugues Duval, sitting in a tiny one-seater CRI-CRI E-Cristaline made the first ever electric cross-Channel flight, beating the aviation giant Airbus by several hours. Their Airbus E-fan prototype aircraft also crossed the Channel without difficulties and is scheduled for series production in 2017. E-fan took off form UK and landed in France, while Duwal's plane was launched from the back of another airplane in flight.
Duval is well-known as a stunt pilot in an aerobatic flight group called Tranchant from France and a Boeing 777 pilot. He set a new speed record for an electric-powered plane on September 5 in 2010, reaching 262 km/h. The year after he already broke his own record – during the Air Show in Paris on June 25, he flew the smallest twin-engine plane in the world at stunning 283 km/h!