Aircraft Identification

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Old Feb 12, 12, 9:18 am
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Aircraft Identification

I would like to improve my aircraft identification skills.

Any suggestions for helpful resources? That page in the Sky magazine is just not doing it.
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Old Feb 12, 12, 9:34 am
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Helpful Simple Hints...

These are by no means all encompassing...but should help....don't tell anyone you use these, they'll think you're a cheat...so let's start big...

1) B747 - Hump on top (unmistakable), 4 engines
2) B777 - 2 engines, long wide fuselage, main gear has 3 pairs of wheels each side
3) B767 - Looks like a slightly smaller 777, main gear has 2 paris of wheels each.
4) A330 - Looks similar to a 777, but has small winglets and "droopy" wings. The cockpit windows on airbus are more distinct from the nosecone than on Boeing AC, 2 engines
4) B757 - 2 engines, much more narrow than the 76, 2 paris ofwheels on main gear
5) B737 - 2 engines, short fuselage, 1 pair of wheels on main gear
6) A320/A319 - looks like 737, but taller off the ground, distinct "notche" from nosecone to cockpit windows
7) B707 - 4 engines, oops

Also, look at the tailcone, or below the cockpit windows, the manufacturer normally labels the AC (ex. 757-300). so that will help you learn as well.

Practice and give it time. Pick out things you notice easy. It's no different than knowing the difference between a Yugo and a Mini...well that's more difficult...

As for resource....www.airliners.net........its great

Last edited by FlyingDL4Fun; Feb 12, 12 at 9:36 am Reason: addition
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Old Feb 12, 12, 9:53 am
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It takes time. Use things like number of exits or fleet numbers and even engine sounds. I can tell the difference between an airbus and Boeing by hearing the engines as it flies over my house without having to look up.
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Old Feb 12, 12, 10:02 am
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Originally Posted by FlyingDL4Fun View Post
4) B757 - 2 engines, much more narrow than the 76, 2 paris ofwheels on main gear
5) B737 - 2 engines, short fuselage, 1 pair of wheels on main gear
6) A320/A319 - looks like 737, but taller off the ground, distinct "notche" from nosecone to cockpit windows
As for the 757/737/A320/19 differences, don't forget the doors. The 757 has 3+ doors on each side while the 737/A320/19 have only two and overwing exits.

Also the 757's stance is quite unique. The nose gear is quite a ways back which makes the cockpit look like it is sticking out more. See the pictures below for examples.

757


737


A320
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Old Feb 12, 12, 10:28 am
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747 - Look for the hump. It's also the only four-holer in DL's fleet.
A330 - Look for the little raked wingtips/winglets that have a sharper angle than the rest of the wing, but aren't raised very high above it.
777 - Looks like an A330, but without the raked wingtips protruding out.
767 - Looks like a 777, but smaller and narrower. I believe some in DL's fleet have large winglets that stick way above the rest of the wing.
757 - Long, thin aircraft that has almost a pencil-like appearance. Sits high above the ground and has much bigger engines as compared to its narrowbody cousins in DL's fleet. If it's really, really long and thin, it's a 757-300. Can be difficult to distinguish these from the 767. Many different configurations out there, but most have two overwing exit rows, and all have two boarding doors forward of the wing (unlike any other DL narrowbody). Some with winglets, some without, so that's not really a deciding factor.
737-800 - Short, squatty aircraft with large winglets and a distinctive cockpit window pattern that narrows into small, rectangular slits. Two overwing exits.
737-700 - Visually similar to the 737-800, but shorter and has only one overwing exit.
A320 - Sits higher than a 737. Look for two small (very small) fins on the wingtips as opposed to a single large winglet. Two overwing exits.
A319 - Visually similar to the A320, but shorter and has only one overwing exit.
MD-90 - About the length of the 737-800, but with two large engines mounted at the rear of the aircraft that are almost as tall as the fuselage itself is.
MD-88 - Visually similar to the MD-90, but the engines in back are much smaller. Considerably louder than the MD-90. Has a badger-like tailcone that narrows to a vertically-flat edge in the rear.
DC-9-50 - Visually similar to the MD-88, but shorter. Tailcone narrows to a point instead of to a flat edge.
E-170/175 - The overall family is very distinctive, looking something like a mini-A320 with 737 winglets. Once you know what they look like, you'll never misidentify them again. No overwing exits on either model, but short of counting the windows or reading the nameplate when it's at the gate, I have yet to find a reliable way to identify the two variants.
ERJ-145 - Small, pointy aircraft with two rear-mounted engines that are very long as compared to the engines on their CRJ brethren. Mostly seen in the northeast, if I'm not mistaken.
CRJ-900 - Two large-ish rear-mounted engines, placed above the centerline of the fuselage. Shorter and narrower than a DC-9, with a more "pointy" appearance. Two overwing exits.
CRJ-700 - Visually very similar to the CRJ-900, but shorter and with only one overwing exit.
CRJ-100/200 - Shorter and squattier even than a CRJ-700, it looks like a glorified business jet converted for passenger use (oh wait...).
EMB-120 - I don't believe any of these are actually in DL livery anymore (all SkyWest). They only operate short hops out of SLC, and they are the only aircraft in DL's fleet with propellers.

If you're really struggling to identify an aircraft you pass by, you can always just walk up to the gate (or even an adjoining gate sometimes) and ask. The agent working the flight certainly knows what type of aircraft it is, and agents not working that flight can usually look out the window and tell you if they're not too busy.
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Old Feb 12, 12, 10:42 am
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Don't forget the Saabs (two props ) or are they gone?

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Old Feb 12, 12, 10:48 am
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The Saabs were all withdrawn late last year, coinciding with DL's drawdown on EAS flying in the upper Midwest. Great Lakes Airlines now has most of those routes.
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Old Feb 12, 12, 11:03 am
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Here's a blog post from gadling. It helps identify the different Boeings.
http://www.gadling.com/2011/09/23/co...-your-boeings/

Personally the ones that give me troubles is the different '37s, the rest aren't too bad.
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Old Feb 12, 12, 11:07 am
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Originally Posted by FlyingDL4Fun View Post
5) B737 - 2 engines, short fuselage, 1 pair of wheels on main gear
Originally Posted by T.J. Bender View Post
737-800 - Short, squatty aircraft with large winglets and a distinctive cockpit window pattern that narrows into small, rectangular slits. Two overwing exits.
737-700 - Visually similar to the 737-800, but shorter and has only one overwing exit.
Distinctive feature: head on, modern 737's engines nacelles are 'flat' on the bottom. This helps narrow down the genus and the above will get you species.

If you are underneath one flying overhead, the 737 has no gear doors -- you'll see wheels.
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Old Feb 12, 12, 2:01 pm
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Thanks all - this is very, very helpful information and will keep me well occupied during ATL rush hours. I'll be masquerading as a pro in no time.
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Old Feb 13, 12, 7:13 pm
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Plain and simple plane identification. I've always been able to at least identify a B747-400 but not really any other plane.

Time to spend more effort in the lounge looking out the windows instead of looking at my empty drink
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Old Feb 13, 12, 8:10 pm
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A319 - Visually similar to the A320, but shorter and has only one overwing exit.
Just a note there, the EasyJet A319's have 2 sets of doors over the wings. Some of the older ones are now going back to the lessor so they may go to other airlines. Just to confuse things
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Old Feb 13, 12, 8:22 pm
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Originally Posted by FN-GM View Post
Just a note there, the EasyJet A319's have 2 sets of doors over the wings. Some of the older ones are now going back to the lessor so they may go to other airlines. Just to confuse things
I did not know that. I thought all A319 only had 1 set of doors. Thanks for sharing!
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Old Feb 14, 12, 7:15 am
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Originally Posted by UA767400 View Post
I did not know that. I thought all A319 only had 1 set of doors. Thanks for sharing!
They removed toilets to fit a couple more sets in. To keep the safety people happy they needed to fit an extra pair of emergency exit doors. This link is to an image of one if you want to take a look. - http://www.airliners.net/photo/EasyJ...66740be3e946e3
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