It was a record-breaking performance -- but it didn’t work out quite the way organizers had expected.

Chinese drone startup Ehang set a new Guinness World Record on Labor Day for flying the most drones at the same time. The South China Morning Post reports, 1,374 drones hovered above the ancient city wall in the central city of Xi’an -- breaking the record that was briefly held by Intel for a few months.

But the rest didn’t go as planned. The Ehang drone fleet was supposed to form characters that say the date “5.1”, among other things. But video shows that about half of the drones were out of sync, failing to complete the task.

The "5" completely disintegrated. (Picture: thepaper.cn)
This was supposed to show the shape of a city wall. (Picture: thepaper.cn)
The drones couldn't display full phrases. (Picture: The Beijing News)

At one point, some of the drones even started to fall.

A drone appears to crash onto the ground. (Picture: The Beijing News)

The local government paid Ehang 10.5 million yuan (US$1.6 million) for the show. The company says it will explain what happened in the coming days.

The glitch comes as an embarrassment for Ehang -- considered one of China’s leading drone makers. Earlier this year, the company released a video showing a test flight of its self-flying passenger drones shuttling people around the southern city of Guangzhou.