Sponsor Message:
Civil Aviation Forum
My Starred Topics | Profile | New Topic | Forum Index | Help | Search 
How To Recognise A Plane Flying Over Your House...  
User currently offlineSXMbyKLM747 From Netherlands, joined Aug 2004, 82 posts, RR: 0
Posted (11 years 7 months 22 hours ago) and read 12088 times:

Hi everybody

I am always wondering...probably like more of you...what kind of plane it is flying sky-high over my house...
How the ### can i recognise the plane type...i can just distinguish the nr. of motors, but then: If its 4, how can i see the difference between an A340 of a 747? Is the shape of the wings very different so i can recognise it???
Same holds for 2 engine planes.

21 replies: All unread, jump to last
User currently offlineDeltaWings From Switzerland, joined Aug 2004, 1294 posts, RR: 15
Reply 1, posted (11 years 7 months 22 hours ago) and read 12077 times:

This is exactly the reason, why I purchased 30-times- binoculors. On nice days you can see me just staring into the sky searching for planes flying high above.....

Homer: Marge, it takes two to lie. One to lie and one to listen.
User currently offlineSXMbyKLM747 From Netherlands, joined Aug 2004, 82 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (11 years 7 months 21 hours ago) and read 11994 times:

good suggestion...
somebody got more ideas?

User currently offlineAirtrader From Netherlands, joined Jun 2004, 40 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (11 years 7 months 21 hours ago) and read 11971 times:

Good question. I live in the center of amsterdam, but on my roofterrace I have one of the best views of planes flying high over. I am always trying to see which airliner it is. The binoculars I have are too small. Anyone know which are good ones? Thanks Remi

Cabin Crew: doors to manuel and crossdress
User currently offlineTs-ior From Tunisia, joined Oct 2001, 3730 posts, RR: 5
Reply 4, posted (11 years 7 months 20 hours ago) and read 11941 times:

...the shape of the wings could find out whether it is a 747 or an A340...Rear-engines aircraft are easy to identify,and also wingletted 737s

User currently offlineStarlionblue From Greenland, joined Feb 2004, 17630 posts, RR: 65
Reply 5, posted (11 years 7 months 20 hours ago) and read 11931 times:

The wing sweep of the 747 is much less than than of the 340. Also if you see it slightly from the side you can tell if the plane has a hump.

I guess it's all about practice. There is not simple way to tell.

"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots."
User currently offlineDw747400 From United States of America, joined Aug 2001, 1276 posts, RR: 1
Reply 6, posted (11 years 7 months 20 hours ago) and read 11895 times:

I think you swapped the sweeps there... A340 is around 30 degrees (a bit more for the NG's) while the 747 was 37.5 (for the 400).

Honestly, though, if you can see that at cruise altitude, you are a better man than I... or at least have better eyes!

CFI--Certfied Freakin Idiot
User currently offlineBoeing764 From Canada, joined Apr 2001, 298 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (11 years 7 months 19 hours ago) and read 11865 times:

I use a pair of 20x50 binoculars to see the aircraft flying high above my house. With a VHF scanner tuned to the frequency these aircraft are using you can identify the flight number then look on the internet to sites such as http://www.flytecomm.com/cgi-bin/trackflight, or the airlines own website and click on 'flight status', enter the flight number and it will tell you what type of aircraft it is and it's routing. http://www.airnavsystems.com even has a live flight tracker that you can use to see all flights airborne in North America.

View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Mathieu Pouliot

Another great way to identify the aircraft is by using an ACARS decoder. ACARS stands for Aircraft Communication Addressing and Reporting System. Aircraft frequently send and recieve messages via ACARS, and the message will identify the flight number and the registration of the aircraft. You'll need a VHF reciever and decoding software on your pc. I use this website to check ACARS reports for my area: http://asia.geocities.com/sunshine_8088/

From Dr. King's America to Nelson Mandela's Africa, the journey of equality moves on.
User currently offlineAirtrainer From Belgium, joined Aug 2003, 1564 posts, RR: 11
Reply 8, posted (11 years 7 months 18 hours ago) and read 11803 times:

I had some answers in a thread I started a few months ago, here's the link...


I've found a small telescope to replace my 8x56 binoculars, it's not really easy but sometimes I'm able to identify some airlines flying over the house. Another solution would be to buy a digital camera like the Canon 300D with at least a 200mm lens, take pictures and then view the result on the computer. Looking at some pictures in the database, I really think it's a good idea but hummm, maybe quite expensive. Am I just crazy ?  Laugh out loud

SXMbyKLM747, feel free to email me if you want to talk about the topic !


Life is short : eat dessert first !
User currently offlineCOAMiG29 From United States of America, joined Aug 2004, 515 posts, RR: 2
Reply 9, posted (11 years 7 months 18 hours ago) and read 11795 times:

in reading the forum there are many good suggestions. thanks. i live right under an international route from dfw so i may be identifying planes soon.


If Continental had a hub at DFW with nonstop flights I would always fly them, unfortunantely good things take time.
User currently offlineKim777fan From United States of America, joined Aug 2004, 510 posts, RR: 1
Reply 10, posted (11 years 7 months 5 hours ago) and read 11601 times:

Q. What time is it when you recognize the plane flying over your house as a BA 777??

A. Time to get a new house!!  Laugh out loud

User currently offlineUa777222 From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 3348 posts, RR: 7
Reply 11, posted (11 years 7 months 4 hours ago) and read 11594 times:

If the a/c flieing over are at a lower altitude you can tell from the normal a/c "stand outs" as I like to call them. The 744 of course has the 4 engines, 777 has the stub tail, 767 just stands out to me, the 757 is very skinny and the 737 is in a class of it's own. The MD-11 I can tell is only Fed-Ex....

I live in an area where when it's light out and the skies are clear you can tell the airline and a/c. It's really great I think. The MD-11's that are going into OAK start their decent right over my school and house. A/c in and out of CCR are over the house and the usual Coast Guard or MedaLife helo's are a usual. With the added F-16/18 and other airshow fav's.

Thanks again.


"It wasn't raining when Noah built the ark."
User currently offlineAzul320 From United States of America, joined Jun 2004, 281 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (11 years 7 months 3 hours ago) and read 11548 times:

How to recognise a plane over your house, you ask?
I believe it's the lights that blink simultaneously at the tips of the wings, most distinguishable at night of course, Boeing aircraft one blink simultaneously at each wing tip and Airbus Aircraft a double blink simultaneously at each wing tip...

Excuse me, while I kiss the sky
User currently offlineZKSUJ From New Zealand, joined May 2004, 7225 posts, RR: 11
Reply 13, posted (11 years 7 months 1 hour ago) and read 11474 times:

How high up are the aircraft flying.
Here at AKL it is pretty obvious because I roughly know what airlines flyin out or in at certain times of day. Also because to the colour scheme.
Here at AKL, it is also made easier by the fact that we do not see many varients of aircraft operated by different carriers.
eg. CX will only operate the A340 to AKL and on occasions the 744. Therefore, it will not be a 777 or A330 (do you get what I mean because it may sound confusing).

User currently offlineRushed From Australia, joined May 2000, 255 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (11 years 6 months 4 weeks 1 day 23 hours ago) and read 11391 times:

Its easy.. just move closer to the airport. My partners brother lives directly in a flight path for sydney airport. Staying there a few weeks ago i could simply read the 'Boeing 737-400' title at rear of the plane.

travel blogging enthusiast :)
User currently offlineN62NA From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 5031 posts, RR: 8
Reply 15, posted (11 years 6 months 4 weeks 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 11306 times:

I use the Flight Explorer personal edition software. It costs about $10 per month but it's fantastic. I always know what's coming, so I can skip running out for the mundane AA MD80 and instead not miss the VS A346!

Their website is http://www.flightexplorer.com and you can download the software from there.

User currently offlineAirtrainer From Belgium, joined Aug 2003, 1564 posts, RR: 11
Reply 16, posted (11 years 6 months 4 weeks 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 11320 times:

Rushed, of course living close to an airport will help you seeing the aircrafts going in or out of that airport, but Robbert is talking about planes flying high  Smile/happy/getting dizzy

Be well.

Life is short : eat dessert first !
User currently offlineCkfred From United States of America, joined Apr 2001, 5850 posts, RR: 2
Reply 17, posted (11 years 6 months 4 weeks 1 day 8 hours ago) and read 11161 times:

In looking up, if the plane has a very tapered or "bullet" nose, it's a Boeing 737.

A318s through 321s have fences on the wingtips, while 737NGs, if installed, have tall, skinny winglets.

User currently offlineNoelG From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 18, posted (11 years 6 months 4 weeks 20 hours ago) and read 11038 times:

Another way to help identify it is the colours. For instance, if I see a 4 engined airliner that's mainly white with a red flash up the tail I know it's BA.

I can't really get any closer without my scope, but I've been able to read the reg numbers from under the wing of overflights in the past (at about FL200).


User currently offlineBCAL From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2004, 3384 posts, RR: 14
Reply 19, posted (11 years 6 months 4 weeks 18 hours ago) and read 10961 times:

IIRC BEA (which merged with BOAC to become BA) at one time painted the wings of their aircraft red both top and bottom and the BEA logo also appeared underneath. This made their planes very easy to spot when flying overhead.

Does any airline still have their logo underneath the wings of their aircraft?

MOL on SRB's latest attack at BA: "It's like a little Chihuahua barking at a dying Labrador. Nobody cares."
User currently offlineUpsmd11 From United States of America, joined May 2003, 823 posts, RR: 4
Reply 20, posted (11 years 6 months 4 weeks 14 hours ago) and read 10859 times:

If you are lucky enough to live in an area where the Passur system is in place you can always log on and find the flight via that system.

I was at a soccer game once and noticed a big 4-engine aircraft overhead crusing at 37,000 - 39,000 feet. I noted the time and then went home.

When I got home I pulled up Passur and I changed the replay to the correct time of when I had seen this flight. It ends up it was an LH flight going from DFW or HOU (can't remember) to FRA. The aircraft was, indeed, an A340 as well.


User currently offlineB741 From Canada, joined Jan 2004, 716 posts, RR: 1
Reply 21, posted (11 years 6 months 4 weeks 11 hours ago) and read 10805 times:

I have 20x50 binos and can see the aircraft colors when they are at FL390.

Being Bilingual, I Speak English And Aviation
Top Of Page
Forum Index

This topic is archived and can not be replied to any more.

Printer friendly format

Similar topics:More similar topics...
How Many Aircraft Fly Over Your House? posted Tue Feb 4 2003 00:49:45 by Apuneger
How To Survive A Plane Crash! posted Wed Oct 4 2006 22:10:40 by Cumulus
How To Leave A Plane Quickly...(Funny Video) posted Thu Feb 9 2006 15:29:12 by Bongo
Two T-6s Flying Over My House In CGN posted Sun Aug 1 2004 15:25:33 by MD11Engineer
How To Buy A Plane In Mojave...? posted Tue May 25 2004 21:25:01 by Cun757
Favorite Things To See While Flying Into Your City posted Mon Dec 2 2002 01:35:01 by Climbout
737 Flying Over White House posted Wed Apr 3 2002 03:23:44 by Patches
Flight 11, The First Plane Flew Over My House! posted Sun Sep 16 2001 05:03:47 by Jcxp15
Plane Flying Over Chicago Right Now! Not Kidding! posted Wed Sep 12 2001 00:10:34 by SSTjumbo
Planes Fly Low Over Your House? posted Thu Mar 8 2001 18:47:16 by UsAirways_757