The Airbus E-Fan carbon fiber aircraft crosses the English Channel

But the record of flying the first all-electric plane across the Channel was apparently taken hours before by a French pilot in another all-electric aircraft.

Airbus Group’s E-Fan all-electric two-engine aircraft successfully crossed the English Channel on July 10. The E-Fan’s flight of 46 miles between Lydd, England, and Calais in France was completed in 36 minutes.

The E-Fan, made of carbon fiber, is powered by lithium-ion batteries, which offer an increased battery capacity of 60% compared to the aircraft’s original configuration. Flown by test pilot Didier Esteyne, the E-Fan weighs around 1,320 pounds and traveled at a maximum altitude of about 3,500 feet.

While it was supposed to be a world’s first, apparently a French pilot made the first flight in an electric plane across the Channel hours before Airbus did, according to The Guardian.

“Howard Duval flew from the French port of Calais to the English shoreline and back on Thursday night in the one-seat Crici plane,” The Guardian reports. “His 22-mile journey is considered a milestone in the attempt to make electric flights a viable form of travel."

However, Airbus says it shouldn’t count as the ‘first all-electric aircraft to cross the Channel’ because the Crici plane may have been launched from another aircraft.

The Guardian quotes Airbus spokesman Jeremy Greaves as saying: “We are not worried. It would not count because we understand he set off from another plane. We applaud the intrepid aviator that did this, although the actual details are yet to be confirmed.”

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