Video: Gentle Giants in Formation

We've all seen spectacular air show performances with fighter jets or aerobatic piston airplanes flying in formation of various configurations. But it is not every day that you see five 590,000-plus-pound commercial passenger jets flying an Echelon or Diamond formation. Airbus recently released a video of just such a flight with five A350 XWB (extra wide body) airplanes, and it is a spectacular sight to see.

The video starts showing the preflight preparation and briefing, an interesting part in itself, but if you want to skip to the actual formation flight it starts about 3 minutes into the video. The massive airplanes fly in Echelon, Diamond and Arrow formations with spectacular breaks showing the A350's maneuverability despite its giant size.

The A350 fuselage comes in three lengths, can carry up to 369 passengers and is constructed mostly of composite, but blended with aluminum, steel, titanium and other metals. The aerodynamically efficient wing is similar in shape to that of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, its main competitor, and both airplanes are designed with fly-by-wire technology.

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Pia Bergqvist joined FLYING in December 2010. A passionate aviator, Pia started flying in 1999 and quickly obtained her single- and multi-engine commercial, instrument and instructor ratings. After a decade of working in general aviation, Pia has accumulated almost 3,000 hours of flight time in nearly 40 different types of aircraft.

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