Watch a new promotional video uploaded to YouTube earlier in the month by Airbus. The video, which has gone viral, shows five of Airbus’ new A350 commercial airliners in formation “family flight.”
According to Airbus, the five A350 XWBs performed the test and development flight in Sept. 2014.
The video shows the A350 XWBs flying in various aerobatic formations, including diamond formation, low pass, echelon formation, and arrow formation.
Watch the A350s peel off from the various formations gracefully. It is a joy to watch skilled pilots maneuver and coordinate the flights of such big airplanes with precision.
The impressive video has received more than 1.2 million views on YouTube alone. Many viewers have expressed delight at the sight of such big airliners being flown with grace and precision.
A viewer, Leonaristo, exclaims, “Awesome! What else I can say? Brilliant, Airbus!”
Another viewer, Charger Sheen, was deeply impressed with the ability of the pilots to coordinate the flights of several big airliners so close to each other.
“It looked like there were only some meters between the planes while they were performing the formations. That is really crazy. I mean I have no idea how hard it is to keep a plane flying that straight but I could imagine every mistake would have massive consequences.”
According to the Blaze, some viewers said they developed goosebumps watching the planes being flown in tight formations.
A viewer said, “Got goosebumps watching this in theater mode.”
Another said, “Goosebumps watching this. Breathtaking feat.”
But a few viewers were unable to appreciate the beauty of the formation flight and the skill of the pilots due to an unfair comparison with aerial acrobatic displays by military jets. For instance, a YouTube user, Rusty Harris, writes, “Cool, but not dangerous… B17’s, B-24’s, Lancaster bombers from WW2 flew this close and closer, without the aid of computers, fly by wire, and aerodynamic profiles.”
But another user, Vape Escape, responds, “Those planes were also much smaller, much lighter, much slower, and much cheaper. The A350 carries more weight than what those two planes weigh combined.”
The Airbus A350 XWB, developed as a successor to the A330 and A340, is described as a long-range, twin-engine, wide-body jet airliner. It is Airbus’ first airliner that has fuselage and wings made of carbon-fiber-reinforced polymer.
In a three-class seating arrangement, the plane can carry up to 350 passengers; otherwise, it can carry up to 550.
Development of the airliner, at a projected cost of about $15 billion, is part of Airbus’ long-term positioning in competition with Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner and the 777 series. The project began in 2004, and after undergoing a few redesigns in consultation with customers, the A350 XWB (Extra Wide Body) was conceived in 2006, with Qatar Airways being the first to place orders for three variants.
The first flight of a prototype was conducted in June 2013, from Toulouse, in France. By Dec. 2013, 39 customers worldwide had placed orders for over 800 aircraft.
The A350 XWB received certification from the European Aviation Safety Agency in Sept. 2014, and from the FAA in Nov. 2014. Qatar Airways received its first A350 in Dec. 2014. The formation flight was conducted to mark the occasion.
The new airliner is expected to commence commercial flight service in Jan. 2015.
[Images: YouTube, Wikimedia Commons]