Airbus Group’s all-electric E-Fan technology demonstrator aircraft is being readied for its Channel crossing this Friday, 10 July. The aircraft will soon be on its way from France's Aquitaine region to the starting point of its Channel crossing in Lydd, England.
Transported on a truck and shipped by a ferry from the French to the English side of the Channel, the E-Fan will perform first test flights on Thursday, 9 July in Lydd. The historic flight over the Channel, following the footsteps of Louis Blériot’s first Channel crossing 106 years ago, is scheduled for Friday, 10 July to begin at 9:15 GMT/ 10:15 CET, pending appropriate weather conditions.
As electric flight is a new domain for the aviation industry, no rules exist as of yet to verify the airworthiness of an electrical engine. Therefore, the French Direction Générale de l'Aviation Civile (DGAC), Airbus Group and its partners have elaborated a dedicated test and verification programme to assure the safety for the Channel flight of the E-Fan technology demonstrator.
An integral part of this programme has been the extensive characterisation and testing of all elements of the electrical propulsion unit with respect to a Channel flight mission profile.
“We are very much looking forward to this challenge. For months we have been in contact with authorities and flight regulations and have performed an in-depth analysis of the flight profile. We have followed all requirements for safety verification in close cooperation with DGAC.
That is something which may not have been necessary 100 years ago, when aviation pioneer Louis Blériot performed his channel crossing. Back then, his flight was just a race to be first. Today, following rules and obtaining certifications is of crucial importance for the future of safe, reliable and certifiable electric flight,” said Jean Botti, Airbus Group Chief Technical Officer.
In addition Airbus Group has taken specific professional measures to assure safety on ground (flight mission director and team), on air (Air traffic measurement, accompanying helicopters) and on water (rescue speed boats). These measures are organized in close cooperation/coordination with all relevant public authorities in France and UK.