Airbus Puts Five Enormous A350 Passenger Jets In Formation For Epic Photoshoot

In what surely must be one of the highest budget-to-film-length ratios in history, Airbus put five of its brand-new 300 million dollar A350 XWB planes together for a photoshoot. While most of the clips last only a few seconds, the amount of planning and preparation to pull something like this off is just staggering. With two chase planes, five hero planes, and the stakes as high as ever, watch how Airbus plans and pulls off this truly epic feat of filming and aviation.

If you think about it, the stakes here are just incredibly high. Not only is there over a billion dollars worth of machinery being flown in extremely tight quarters, but the low visibility and low margin for error means that things could turn pear shaped very quickly without adequate planning. Watching these planes fly like this is, to me, like watching the Blue Angels or Thunderbirds but for some reason ten times cooler. The sheer size and grace of these machines is just fascinating.

If you're interested in learning more about this kind of aerial photography and cinematography, check out the post where I break down how it's all done, found by clicking here (there's also a few incredible clips from Wolfe Air included in that link). For even more behind-the-scenes looks at how it's done, check out yet another post that I wrote about it, found here. Is it clear that I'm the resident dork yet?

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Nunzio Prenna's picture

I enjoyed this video a lot. thanks for sharing!

Jason Ranalli's picture

This is awesome and I agree wholeheartedly that it is some ways more fascinating and spectacular to see planes this massive flying than smaller ones.

My family used to drive by the Dover DE AFB on the way to Marlyand beaches when I was a kid and there is a stretch of highway that used to intersect the very end of the landing path. Watching a C-17 Globemaster go overhead for a touch-n-go is just insane. A plane that size coming in right at you looks like it is hanging in the air!! And those engines have a scream like no commercial airline.

Charles Diaz's picture


michael buehrle's picture

that was cool

Juan Hurtado's picture

The most dangerous part was that Windows XP on the screen.

Christian Berens's picture

That was amazing! The planning, the strategy, the outcome! Thanks for sharing
(Coming from an engineer from one of their main competitors LOL)

Shayne Thomas's picture

Incredible!! Thanks MIke!

Sergio Tello's picture

I don't think I blinked once during those 6:30 minutes. That was amazing!

Michael J Buongiorne's picture

If you imagine the scale of heavy physics effecting these maneuvers, this whole thing becomes that much more intense. These planes are not designed to be flown like this! Color me impressed and in awe.

John Skinner's picture

Understanding the maneuverability and subtleties of having one of these giants in your hand is noting that can be explained in words to people. Whereas even if you have had larger multi-engine time, these Airbus models control in a whole new mind space. To see them flying in such low proximity to each other and the risks of air currents and alike, is really a remarkable feat of design and engineering. Saying nothing of the photographic value of this.

Just W O W... Hats off to a very talented and trustful group of pilots and image creators.

Michael Kormos's picture

Why not hire a VFX company and do this in 3D for a fraction of the price? Planes are amongst the easiest things to model.

Matt Beyea's picture

You really think this would be impressive if a bunch of computer techies got together and made a fake video ? This had to have been an amazing challenge to fly 5 wide bodied aircraft in formation successfully and safely. Another challenge to film it. What an awesome display of talent by everyone! Of course it was a "PR thing". You think they would make this and keep it in their personal file to watch it privately??

Paul Tucker's picture

Stunningly beautiful. I couldn't stop thinking about wing vortices... the potential wake turbulence would have to be crazy with wings like that! So cool. There are just some things that CGI can't do (sure, hate me).

PS: @Mike Kelley, thanks for posting this. I have to ask though, are the "Blue Angeles" the Mexican Navy's fighter demonstration group? ;)

Aleksey Zozulya's picture

Amazing. I've done some aerial photography from a helicopter and it is challenging enough. this was amazing.

Chris Robinson's picture

That's pretty amazing!

DeMarcus Allen's picture

This is just amazing, I've always been a fan of planes and the science behind making them move so effortlessly through the sky. This video is just breathtaking

Joni Hofmann's picture

I see this an old post, but I just discovered it. WOW! Amazing! I'm not even an aviation follower, but this undertaking was astounding. I would have loved to see those formations flying over my house!