CALAIS, France, July 10 (UPI) -- The cross-Channel flight has turned into a cross-Channel fight, with two pilots claiming the crown of first to fly an electric plane across the English Channel.
One of the claimants -- the one with more money and more media might -- is Airbus. The aerospace manufacturing giant flew its twin-egine electric E-Fan plane, powered by batteries instead of fuel, from Kent, England, to Calais, France, on Friday morning, July 10.
The company and French pilot Didier Esteyne believe the 45-minute trip is the first electric cross-Channel flight.
But Hugues Duval, another French pilot who regularly flies in stunt exhibitions, says not so fast.
Hours before Airbus's trip, Duval piloted a tiny, electric Cri Cri plane, a one-seater, from Calais to England and back.
"We applaud the intrepid aviator Hugues Duval for his flight in his Cri Cri," an Airbus spokeswoman told the Telegraph. "He plays in his own category."
Whatever category that is, Airbus seems to believe it doesn't count.
In a post to their website, the company claimed the record for themselves.
"At 11 a.m. on a calm, sunny summer morning, the Airbus E-Fan touched down in Calais to enter its name in the record books," the aviation group wrote. "The all-electric plane became the first twin-engine electric plane taking off by its own power to negotiate the English Channel, more than 100 years after Louis Blériot had first made the intrepid journey."
Duval, for his part, celebrated as if the first-across feat was his alone. And he has support on social media.
First 100% electrical flight over Channel doesn't belong to Pipistrel or Airbus&Siemens, but to Hugues Duval! Bravo! https://t.co/C3xmmsYaIc— Franci Lajovic (@francilajovic) July 10, 2015
Still, Airbus isn't buying it.
"We are not worried. It would not count," Airbus told Sky News. "We applaud the intrepid aviator that did this, although the actual details are yet to be confirmed."