Airbus has achieved a remarkable feat – one of its aircraft managed to fly over the English Channel.
Doesn’t seem like much of a feat, considering that Airbus’ vehicles fly all over the world, but this is no ordinary flyer.
E-Fan is a light aircraft powered by lithium-ion batteries and two electric motors. It managed to cross the English Channel in 36 minutes, and the event took place earlier today, departing from Lydd, England and arriving in Calais, France, The Verge reported on Friday.
“The English Channel crossing also holds special significance for aviation buffs, as it was considered an enormous challenge in the very earliest days of powered flight — Airbus notes that French aviator Louis Blériot was the first to do it over a century ago in 1909, less than six years after the Wright Flyer's first flight,” The Verge says.
Electric aircraft are still in a very early development phase. NASA is currently working on a crazy-looking electric aircraft with 20+ tiny propellers, while the Swiss Solar Impulse 2 is currently in the process of circumnavigating the globe over a series of small hops.
Airbus also recently showcased (opens in new tab)the second version of the E-Fan flyer, dubbed E-Fan 2.0.
During the Paris Air Show, it unveiled the E-Fan 2.0 prototype aircraft. The all-electric vehicle claiming to be a “plug-in” plane that has a wingspan of 31 feet. In those wings lie 120 lithium-ion polymer batteries, powering twin 30kw engines that are capable of flight speeds up to 136 miles per hour.