11 thoughts on “Identifying Airliners”

  1. The engines on the 737 Max are a little less squashed and it sits a bit nose-up so those larger, less squashed engines are off the ground.

  2. As we used to say back in WW II (the Big One – it was in all the papers) “Those Fokkers are Messerschmitts!”

  3. The earliest 737s didn’t have squashed engines, and some of those were still around within the last ten, fifteen years or so, but not with any major airlines. Basically I would say the rule is, if it has squashed engines, it’s a 737. If it doesn’t, it might still be if it’s an unfamiliar airline, but it gets less likely as time passes.

  4. Also a 737 main landing gear door doesn’t cover the wheels. They simply retract flush with the skin and fancy hubcaps streamline it. So if you can see the outline of the tires when it flies over it’s a 737.

  5. It used to be *so* much easier in the 1980s:

    4 engines, narrowbody = 707
    3 engines, narrowbody = 727
    2 under-wing engines, narrowbody, short and low to the ground = 737
    2 engines, aft, narrowbody = DC-9
    4 underwing engines, widebody, plus hump = 747
    3 engines, widebody, tail engine all above tail = DC-10
    3 engines, widebody, tail engine inlet on top, outlet out body = L-1011
    2 underwing engines, narrowbody, long and high off the ground = 757
    2 underwing engines, widebody = 767

    Now, just about every design has converged on 2 underwing engines……..

  6. Oh yeah?

    How about

    4 engines, narrowbody = DC-8
    3 engines, narrowbody = Hawker-Siddeley Trident or Tupolev Tu-154
    2 under-wing engines, narrowbody, short and low to the ground = Dassault Mercure
    2 engines, aft, narrowbody = BAC-11 or Fokker F28 Fellowship
    2 underwing engines, widebody = A300?

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