Inventions , ideas and achievements they all have a knack of coming to multiple people living different lives. History is filled with inventors and achievers who always used to be at loggerheads with people who claimed that in fact it is they who deserves the claim and fame instead. Now it is highly possible that this trend will be at full display again.
An electric aircraft has successfully crossed the English Channel for the first time in history.
But unfortunately there are actually two contenders that claim of having flown this aircraft. On July 10, Airbus Group announced that its E-Fan technology demonstrator claimed the prize by flying from Lydd, Kent to Calais. However, it soon came to light that French Aerobat Hugues Duval had flown from Dover to Calais 12 hours earlier on Thursday in a Cri-Cri electric plane. Now as to who is the actual winner will be most probably be decided on a technicality.
The first ever flight over the the Channel was achieved by Louis Blériot in his Blériot XI on July 25, 1909. The time was marked by intense competition amongst Louis Blériot’s rival with each one of them trying their level best to write their name in the books of history. A similar level of frenzy was being seen when the Daily Mail offered £1,000 (US$1,500) to whoever who crosses the English Channel in an electric aircraft. The prize was nothing as compared to the amount of money the competing companies were pouring in to win that coveted name in history books. But it managed to rope in three contestants. One of three contestants unfortunately has to shun the project. It was a Slovenian company named Pipistrel. Siemens, the makers of the plane’s electric motor, refused to allow its motor to fly over water.
This battle was then left to just two companies. The Airbus E-Fan took off from Lydd Airport with test pilot Didier Esteyne at the controls and flew 46 mi (74 km) to Calais in 36 minutes at an altitude of about 3,500 ft. Built with an all-composite construction, the two-seater E-fan is 22 ft (6.7 m) long and has a wingspan of 31 ft (9.5 m). The plane which landed at Calais was met by confusion instead of a jubilant welcome. It was reported that Hugues Duval had quietly taken off from Dover in his Cri Cri and had landed in Calais some 12 hours earlier on July 9. But fortunately for Airbus E-Fan , Duval’s flight did not have formal permission to take off from Dover, so his aircraft was towed into the air by a conventional plane. This assistance may place recognizing Duval’s record flight in jeopardy. Lets just keep our fingers crossed for this one.