The English Channel isn’t just the body of water that separates Great Britain from its European neighbors, it’s also something of a yardstick in aviation. Need to prove that your new flying technology is ready for prime time? Flying the 20.6 miles (33.1km) from Calais to Dover will do that. The first person to reach Great Britain by means other than boat was Louis Blériot in 1909 [edit: in fact, Jean-Pierre Blanchard and John Jeffries crossed the Channel via balloon in 1785, Matthew Webb swam across in 1785, and in prehistory people walked across a land bridge when sea levels were lower]. More recently, Felix Baumgartner (of the Red Bull Stratos jump) used a carbon fiber wing to skydive across the strait in 2003. Now it’s the electric airplane’s turn.