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I was re-visiting this question about a timelapse photo of multiple airliners and started wondering about the maximum number of jetliners that could be photographed together while flying. I have found cases of Airbus aircraft flying in formation for promotional purposes, (see 5 here and 6 here) and I'm sure Boeing have done the same. However I was thinking that a busy airport with a lot of aircraft in holding patterns waiting to land might provide an opportunity for more, even though they would be maintaining vertical separation. Does anyone know of photos like that?

To be a little more precise in what I am asking for, I am looking for a non-edited photo showing the most airliners where the aircraft must be originally built to carry passengers commercially and must be flying (not one of the many reasons photos of planes in "storage" on the ground or stacked up for demolition)

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  • $\begingroup$ By passengers do you mean people paying an airline? Otherwise any airplane with more than one seat would qualify, and events like EAA Airventure's anniversary reunions would be examples of many dozens of airplanes in quite close formation. $\endgroup$ – Camille Goudeseune Oct 19 '20 at 22:08
  • $\begingroup$ @CamilleGoudeseune I meant commercial airliners. I've edited it slightly to make that clearer $\endgroup$ – Dragonel Oct 19 '20 at 22:18
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    $\begingroup$ Interesting question... I'd look for a photo of Denver or Atlanta or some other place that can run triple simultaneous parallel approaches. A nighttime photo looking at the final would show landing lights out to maybe 20 or 30 miles (not talking time-lapse here, just that lights at night show up better than specks do in the daylight). Under the right conditions you might see 15-20 jets, though it'd take considerable patience to get the shot! $\endgroup$ – Ralph J Oct 20 '20 at 2:49
  • $\begingroup$ Someone posted an image here with 5 or 6 aircraft visible on approach. I'll see if I can find it. $\endgroup$ – FreeMan Oct 20 '20 at 17:59
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The image found here shows 13 DC-3's in formation which were used as airliners at one point but these are in military livery in the photo.

Here is the kind of photo you describe but only 3 aircraft are in view. Keep in mind aircraft are generally turned onto the final approach path and only a few may be lined up straight off the runway at any given time.

The airbus operation you link, may be the biggest instance of passenger jets flying in tight formation.

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    $\begingroup$ The DC-3 pictures are really cool, particularly the one showing them from the ground. $\endgroup$ – Dragonel Oct 20 '20 at 15:01
  • $\begingroup$ Yeah, thanks for sharing that D-Day anniversary link. $\endgroup$ – FreeMan Oct 20 '20 at 17:58

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