Special flight over the English Channel – level 3
A row has broken between two pilots who both claim to be the first to fly an electric plane across the English Channel.
Pilot Didier Estyene’s Airbus E-Fan plane was airborne for 37 minutes on Friday. He made the 46-mile (74 kilometres) journey from Lydd in Kent to Calais. But Hugues Duval also believes he made aviation history with a similar return journey leaving France on Thursday.
The flights are considered symbolically important steps towards making electronic planes viable in the long term. Since there’s no oil or water, the 6-metre-long, 590-kilogram jet releases zero emissions. Airbus’ twin-engine plane is powered by batteries, enabling it to stay airborne for up to 50 minutes. It has two seats and a 31ft wing-span (9.4 metres) with a total engine power of 60kW.
Mr Esteyne described the experience as similar to flying a glider because there’s less noise than an aeroplane. While he described the flight as smooth and very quiet, there may well be unrest to come in deciding who claims the title in aviation history.
Difficult words: row (an argument), claim (to say that something is true), aviation (relating to an aircraft), viable (capable of working successfully), unrest (when people are unhappy).
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