Ok, so you're at the airport, watching the planes fly by, doing a bit of plane spotting. All of a sudden that aircraft you've never seen before comes in to land. You wonder what is it and suggest a few things but you know it can't be. How can you recognise airport aircraft?
First of all, let's consider the type of aircraft you are very likely to see at a commercial airport. These are the two most common types of aircraft you are most likely to see at an airport.
Here you're looking at your Boeings, your Airbuses and occasionally Embraer. These are your main types of commercial aircraft you are likely to see but of course that's not it, there are others too but for now we're just going to concentrate on these three companies.
Small civilian aircraft:-
Some popular civil aircraft you find at airports are Cessna's, Piper's and also your learjets and gulfstreams.
Ok so finally my top 10 tips for recognising aircraft at the airport are:-
1. Consider your airport!
Different types of airports handle different types of aircraft. For example, where are you most likely to see the Airbus A380 land Heathrow or Lukla Airport? In fact you probably don't even know what type of airport Lukla is - Google it!
2. Consider the aircraft!
Which types of aircraft are you most likely to see at your airport? Small regional aircraft, large commercial aircraft, small civilian aircraft, helicopters or fastjets?
3. Get a good view!
It's very important that you try and view the aircraft from all angles where possible. Otherwise this could make an a330 look like a 767! I view from underneath the aircraft (flying over you) is not ideal. Try and get a side view!
4. Airlines fleet
This is where knowing airlines aircraft fleet comes into most use! Knowing these and it can be a great big help!
5. Jane's aircraft recognition book
If you have your air rec book handy, whip it out and start comparing aircraft. Have a look to see what it can and can't be until you're confident enough to put it away.
6.Engine placement and size
Always a good tip for recognising an aircraft is the placement of the engines and the size of them. I.E 717 V 777. Where are the engines on the aircraft you are trying to identify?
7. Landing gear
One of my biggest tips in recognising aircraft is to use the landing gear as a reference. Count the number of wheels to help make your decision. This can help you tell the difference between a 767 and a 777 for example.
8. Take your time observing
Don't feel rushed into recognizing the aircraft. Take as long as you want to fully observe all of it's features. Rushing will only make you miss something.
9. Winglets or no winglets?
Some aircraft have them, some don't. This can help you distinguish between aircraft and help you name the plane!
Use aircraftrecognition.co.uk as a free online tutorial site to help expand your knowledge in aircraft recognition!