How to identify aircraft

How do you identify aircraft (a319, a320, a321, 737,747,757,767,777, a340, MD10) as they fly by?

A319: has 1 emergency exit door over the wings.
A320: has 2 emergency exit doors over the wings.
A321: has 2 emergency exit doors over the wings and one additional between the wing and bulkhead (similar to a B757).

B732: JT9D engines (clamshell engines, like the MD80).
B733, B734: engines are not as completely oval.
B735, B736: fuselage is shorter.
B737: winglets, 1 emergency exit door over the wings
B738: winglets, 2 emergency exit doors over the wings
B739: fuselage is stretched, 2 emergency exit doors over the wings.
B741: 3 windows on the upper deck, older engines
B742: stretched, more windows on the upper deck, older engines (could say the same model engine in B741)
B743: stretched, more windows on the upper deck, newer engines (as compared to B742/B741)
B744: Fuselage shorter, more windows on the upper deck, newer engines, winglets

B753: stretched fuselage as compared to B752.

B762: wider fuselage as compared to any B757. may/may not have winglets.
B763: stretched fuselage, may/may not have winglets
B764: stretched fuselage (even compared to B763), may/may not have winglets

B777: tail is flattened together, like the MD80, 3 x 2pairs of wheels on each trunk on the back sets of landing gear.

A342: single level, middle trunk for landing gear.
A343: stretched fuselage.
A345: stretched fuselage (compared to A343)
A346: stretched fuselage (compared to A345).

MD10: rare to see nowadays.

DC10: third engine/nacelle on the tail elevator, widened fuselage, third trunk on rear set of landing gear.

MD11: same as DC10, with winglets.

For the DC10 series (DC-10-10, DC-10-30), the differences there are in MTOW, weight it can carry, and distance. Nothing I’ve been able to see on the outside.


Try living near OAK. Lots of FedEx MD11s/MD10s (how do you tell the difference externally between an MD10 and a DC-10?)

The DC-10-10 is easy to identify provided the wheels are down because it lacks the third main landing gear.

The DC-10-10’s middle engine has a straight nacelle while the -30 and -40 each have a “bump” in the front of the nacelle.

Now, please go to and look at the aircraft. I suggest opening up the pictures and then arrange the windows so you can see them at the same time. Or, print them out.

That’s the point: I don’t live near a FDX hub, and KMHR gets the occasional B767 from FDX, and KLAS only gets their A306. The only other DC10 operator LAS used to get was from Omni: Sometimes they dropped the third gear from their DC-10-30s, sometimes they didn’t. So it was hard to tell.

The only thing I could think of between the MD-10 and DC-10 would be the lack of the flight director; other than that, I couldn’t tell.


what is a nacelle

The aerodynamic structure that surrounds the engine.

Funny. My posting originally had the definition of a nacelle in it but I figured the guy would know what a nacelle is or at least look it up. Turns out I was wrong.

I hope that this kid doesn’t turn to be another americanairdude. :unamused:

I don’t know…He’s well on his way. Similar questions, multiple threads, not reading the replies. We could have another winner here.


Ahhhh yes. Cue the faceslap montage , please. JHEM, a little help?

I already knew how to tell most of these planes apart when i joined the website when i was like 13 years old. The only ones i have some issues with are the high density 319’s i mistake for 320’s (easyjet and skybus had/has some). 735’s and 736’s, a342, a343 and a345’s, 764’s and 772’s, and 332’s and 333’s

Ahhhh…since when does FedEx fly the B767? In looking at the activities for KMHR it looks like ABX has their B767 ops out of there, and UPS has about 9 flights a day mainly B757…I didn’t see one FDX flight?

There is NO diff in the MD /DC -10 other then a third person in the flight deck on the DC-10.

I know someone will correct me on this BUT…I never knew it was an option on the DC-10-30 to NOT drop the center gear when the gear were put down for landing?!? EVERY DC-10-30 I’ve ever worked be it for FedEx, LH, UTA (back in the day :wink: )…ALL had a center gear down.

Can’t wait to see B777 painted in FedEx scheme…ought to be nice!

What the hell was I thinking when I wrote this? At KMHR, UPS sends in an occasional B767 along with B752s. ABX has one B767 at MHR, yes. DHL used to fly B762s in all the time to MHR. But FDX routes all their ops through SMF, either on a DC-10 or A306. At LAS, I’ve seen nothing but A306s from FDX and the Caravans from PCD.


lol…no harm no foul :wink:

You didn’t “know” because it wasn’t an “option”. :wink:

The DC/MD10-10 does not have the center gear, where the -30 does. And it ALWAYS sequences with the rest of the gear.

See and here I thought I had not got enough coffee this morning (I didn’t but oh well) Tks for the 411!!!