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A five-Airbus formation flight is as beautiful and crazy as it sounds

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It isn't often you see airliners flying in formation. There's a good reason for that, of course: they're too busy earning money for the airlines that own them to engage in any sort of photogenic tomfoolery.

Occasionally, though, it all comes together. Airbus is in the midst of launching its A350 XWB, a next-generation hauler that will replace the A330 and A340 while doing battle with Boeing's 777 and 787 Dreamliner. In celebration of achieving certification from the European Aviation Safety Agency — Europe's FAA — it put five A350s in the air at the same time for a once-in-a-lifetime formation flight.

If you look out your window on your next flight to Omaha and see an A350 this close to you, some semblance of alarm is in order. When Airbus does it, though, it's basically the most awesome thing you can do with a five-pack of matching jets.

All photos courtesy Airbus