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Significant Difference In Sound Between Aircraft?  
User currently offlineW_a_s_p_i_e From United Kingdom, joined Feb 2002, 170 posts, RR: 0
Posted (12 years 11 months 3 days 10 hours ago) and read 3668 times:

Is there a way in which you can tell an airbus to a boeing just by the sound of their engines? I know it must depend on what manufacturerer the engine comes from, but I was always under the impression that all A320 have a more high pitched whining noise, from hearing them on takeoffs than the boeings ive heard on takeoff.
Does it just depend on the engine manufacture, or is there a general difference in sound between aircraft engines? (im talking commercial aircraft, not a PA-28 compared to a 747!!)

12 replies: All unread, jump to last
User currently offlineRick767 From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2000, 2662 posts, RR: 50
Reply 1, posted (12 years 11 months 3 days 8 hours ago) and read 3628 times:

Remember that one aircraft type can have different available engine variants and these do sound different too.

So you might be on a 767-300, but that could have Rolls Royce Engines (like British Airways), General Electric Engines (like Britannia) or Pratt & Whitney Engines (like United). These will all sound different from one another.

Likewise on the A320 you could have General Electric CFM-56 engines or International Aero Engines V2500s, and these don't sound the same. The V2500 is what I call the "lawnmower" sound!!

So it's not as simple as "a 767 sounds like this" and "an A320 sounds like that".

I used to love the smell of Jet-A in the morning...
User currently offlineAM From Mexico, joined Oct 1999, 600 posts, RR: 2
Reply 2, posted (12 years 11 months 3 days 7 hours ago) and read 3602 times:

At least for me, the easiest aircraft to identify by their engine sounds are the V2500-powered A320s and the GE90-powered 777s.

I've paid close attention to A320s with CFM56 engines, and their sound is not too different from the V2500. You can still tell it's an A320.

Also, you can tell when an airplane is a DC-9 with the really loud sound of those old P&Ws.

"... for there you have been and there you will long to return."
User currently offlinePositive rate From Australia, joined Sep 2001, 2143 posts, RR: 1
Reply 3, posted (12 years 11 months 3 days ago) and read 3546 times:

For me the easiest aircraft types to identify are the A320 and the 767. My house is situated underneath the flightpath and whenever a QF 767-300 goes over or an Ansett A320 used to go over i could tell straight away what type it was. The A320 makes a really distinct sound, especially when heard from front-on as it's coming towards you.

User currently offlineRendezvous From New Zealand, joined May 2001, 543 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (12 years 11 months 2 days 21 hours ago) and read 3540 times:

The baby bus has a very distinctive sound, like a hum I guess.
When I was in Sydney I used to be able to pick the domestic traffic, even the quadrapuffs (BAe146's).

User currently offlineBruce From United States of America, joined May 1999, 5099 posts, RR: 13
Reply 5, posted (12 years 11 months 2 days 20 hours ago) and read 3543 times:

I noticed that too. The A320/319/321 have a wierd sort of hum, and also the CRJ has its own special sound. I have not watched a 767 take off from close to a fence lately but back when I did I remember how unusually quiet they were. I mean, once they spool up and start moving its like you barely hear them. Not so with the MD80 and 737! The MD80/Dc9 has a sort of crackle in the thunderous exhaust.


Bruce Leibowitz - Jackson, MS (KJAN) - Canon 50D/100-400L IS lens
User currently offlineL-188 From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 30408 posts, RR: 57
Reply 6, posted (12 years 11 months 2 days 18 hours ago) and read 3519 times:

I don't know if it works that well with jets, but learning the engine noises of piston powered aircraft passing overhead and identifing them as freind or foe was taught to observers are warning station attendents during the war.

I think even the Boy Scouts had a merit badge in it.

User currently offlineGotAirbus From Singapore, joined May 2001, 851 posts, RR: 1
Reply 7, posted (12 years 11 months 2 days 14 hours ago) and read 3498 times:


The A320/319/321 have a wierd sort of hum, and also the CRJ has its own special sound.


First off, I usually listen to a big engines' hum and the fan beating sound (buzzzz -- or stand in front of your home fan for a sample). This doesn't apply to CRJs

The CRJ has a distinct sound...it can closely relate to someone whistling...or in cartoon shows where ACME bombs are dropped onto the enemy (eeeeeeeeeeoooooooooouuuuuuuu)

I was spotting in Los Angeles looking at small and mid-bodies land (Boeings especially). A Korean Airlines 747 came in with this "I'm a big bad boy" whine that carries a lower pitch than the smallbodied Boeings that I saw.


(gotAIRBUS?) - (Got Commonality?) - (Have A Nice Flight!)
User currently offlineLHR340 From United Kingdom, joined Apr 2003, 877 posts, RR: 1
Reply 8, posted (12 years 11 months 2 days 10 hours ago) and read 3472 times:

I can tell the difference between planes flying over my house with out looking at them - a BA 777's engine has a whirring sound when flying over and the larger aircraft have a really low noise and sounds like it is struggling in to the air. A 737 is also pretty obvious, same as the 757.  Smile/happy/getting dizzy


A340 LoVeR! EC-GQK - LHR The Bussiest International Airport & 3rd Bussiest In The World!
User currently offlineLeezyjet From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2001, 4053 posts, RR: 52
Reply 9, posted (12 years 11 months 2 days 2 hours ago) and read 3404 times:

When I used to live near LBA when I was a kid, I could tell the sound of just about everything that used to fly in there from the sound of the engines. Back in those days though alot of the a/c were early turbo props or early jets like the 732/1-11/DC-9 so were quite distinctive.

These days even though I work at LHR, I find it more difficult to tell a/c apart. Since the engines keep on getting quieter it gets harder and harder, though I can usually tell when it's an A320/321/319 as opposed to a 733/4/5/6/7/8/9.

I do however love the sound of the Rolls Royce RB-211 on startup. That is such a great sound especially on a wet start !!.


"She Rolls, 45 knots, 90, 135, nose comes up to 20 degrees, she's airborne - She flies, Concorde Flies"
User currently offlineSSTjumbo From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 10, posted (12 years 11 months 2 days 1 hour ago) and read 3388 times:

A320's have a low multiphonic teapot whistle to them. That's how I can immediately tell them from any other aircraft, CFM56 or V2500.


User currently offlineBhxforever From United Kingdom, joined Jul 2001, 564 posts, RR: 1
Reply 11, posted (12 years 11 months 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 3336 times:

The 757s with RR engines always sounded very distinctive, a very high pitched whining sound, although somebody told me that this is the fan blades reaching the speed of sound or something?

User currently offlineMr.BA From Singapore, joined Sep 2000, 3423 posts, RR: 20
Reply 12, posted (12 years 11 months 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 3332 times:

Listen to the B777s powered by RR trents.. the grinding sound is unmistakable!

Boeing747 万岁!
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