patrickbks
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Can you tell what engine a plane is using just by looking at it?

Mon Jul 09, 2018 9:09 pm

I can tell the difference between plane models quite well, aka the difference between an A340-200 and an A340-300 by the eye, but is it possible to tell the difference between say an A330-243 and a A330-223 just by the eye?

Thanks in advance.
 
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Starlionblue
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Re: Can you tell what engine a plane is using just by looking at it?

Tue Jul 10, 2018 2:12 am

It depends.

In your particular example it is not a problem. The second digit in Airbus version numbers designates the manufacturer. The A330-223 is GE CF6 powered, while the -243 is RR Trent powered. The engines are distinctively different. In the pics below Malaysia Airlines is a -223 and Thomas Cook is a -243.



Some version differences are impossible to see from the outside. For example the 330-342 and -343 are identical in appearance. The difference is the version of the engine and the weights.

-342 = Trent 772-60
-343 = Trent 772B-60/C-60

The same goes for your various 320 engine variants, like the CFM powered 319s.

-111 = CFM56-5B5/P
-112 = CFM56-5B6/P
-113 = CFM56-5A4
-114 = CFM56-5A5
-115 = CFM56-5B7/P

If you have quite the knowledge of which airline has which variant, that helps. But many airlines use different variants so that doesn't always help.

The only way to be a 100% is to search the registration on a site like Airfleets. For example the Thomas Cook aircraft above: https://www.airfleets.net/ficheapp/plane-a330-1498.htm


Airbus version codes: http://aviation.rosboch.net/?p=5
Last edited by Starlionblue on Tue Jul 10, 2018 2:14 am, edited 2 times in total.
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
stratclub
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Re: Can you tell what engine a plane is using just by looking at it?

Tue Jul 10, 2018 2:16 am

The Airbus A330-243 and the Airbus A330-243 are the same aircraft. Couldn't tell the difference because there isn't any. Aircraft you have a question about just Google it and usually WIKI will give information overload on the information you seek.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Airbus_A330
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Airbus_A340
 
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Starlionblue
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Re: Can you tell what engine a plane is using just by looking at it?

Tue Jul 10, 2018 3:52 am

stratclub wrote:
The Airbus A330-243 and the Airbus A330-243 are the same aircraft. Couldn't tell the difference because there isn't any. Aircraft you have a question about just Google it and usually WIKI will give information overload on the information you seek.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Airbus_A330
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Airbus_A340


The OP asked about -223 and -243.
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
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Horstroad
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Re: Can you tell what engine a plane is using just by looking at it?

Tue Jul 10, 2018 7:16 am

in most cases you can. The shape of the nacelle and exhaust nozzle is usually very different between engine types on the same aircraft.
The A330 is a very good example. On the CF6 the exhaust nozzle is pointy, on the PW the exhaust nozzle looks chopped off, and on the RR the bypass air is shrouded all the way over the nozzle.

On the MD11 the exhaust noozle is pointy again and the nacelle is pretty round. The PW again has the chopped of nozzle, the translating cowl of the reverser is shorter, the bottom of the nacelle is more flat.

On the 747 the CF6 isn't pointy but the nozzle looks longer and more straight. The fan cowl is wider. The exhaust nozzle on the PW looks a bit more stubby and the fan cowl appears to be just half the size. The RR is shrouded all the way again.


Every aircraft type has these slight but distinctive differences
 
patrickbks
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Re: Can you tell what engine a plane is using just by looking at it?

Tue Jul 10, 2018 10:14 am

Thanks guys
 
bhill
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Re: Can you tell what engine a plane is using just by looking at it?

Tue Jul 10, 2018 7:00 pm

Sorta...watch when they fire them up in the morning.... ;-)
Carpe Pices
 
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XAM2175
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Re: Can you tell what engine a plane is using just by looking at it?

Tue Jul 10, 2018 7:20 pm

Horstroad wrote:
On the 747 the CF6 isn't pointy but the nozzle looks longer and more straight. The fan cowl is wider... The RR is shrouded all the way again.


Same goes on the 767 - left picture is GE CF-6, right is a Rolls-Royce RB211:



 
stratclub
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Re: Can you tell what engine a plane is using just by looking at it?

Tue Jul 10, 2018 11:20 pm

Starlionblue wrote:
stratclub wrote:
The Airbus A330-243 and the Airbus A330-243 are the same aircraft. Couldn't tell the difference because there isn't any. Aircraft you have a question about just Google it and usually WIKI will give information overload on the information you seek.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Airbus_A330
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Airbus_A340


The OP asked about -223 and -243.

My bad. If I was a pilot we would all be in trouble. :banghead:
 
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Starlionblue
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Re: Can you tell what engine a plane is using just by looking at it?

Wed Jul 11, 2018 2:21 am

stratclub wrote:
Starlionblue wrote:
stratclub wrote:
The Airbus A330-243 and the Airbus A330-243 are the same aircraft. Couldn't tell the difference because there isn't any. Aircraft you have a question about just Google it and usually WIKI will give information overload on the information you seek.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Airbus_A330
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Airbus_A340


The OP asked about -223 and -243.

My bad. If I was a pilot we would all be in trouble. :banghead:


Not to worry. Just blame fatigue. Pilots do that all the time. ;)
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
Alitalia744
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Re: Can you tell what engine a plane is using just by looking at it?

Wed Jul 11, 2018 3:25 am

Starlionblue wrote:
It depends.

In your particular example it is not a problem. The second digit in Airbus version numbers designates the manufacturer. The A330-223 is GE CF6 powered, while the -243 is RR Trent powered. The engines are distinctively different. In the pics below Malaysia Airlines is a -223 and Thomas Cook is a -243.



Some version differences are impossible to see from the outside. For example the 330-342 and -343 are identical in appearance. The difference is the version of the engine and the weights.

-342 = Trent 772-60
-343 = Trent 772B-60/C-60

The same goes for your various 320 engine variants, like the CFM powered 319s.

-111 = CFM56-5B5/P
-112 = CFM56-5B6/P
-113 = CFM56-5A4
-114 = CFM56-5A5
-115 = CFM56-5B7/P

If you have quite the knowledge of which airline has which variant, that helps. But many airlines use different variants so that doesn't always help.

The only way to be a 100% is to search the registration on a site like Airfleets. For example the Thomas Cook aircraft above: https://www.airfleets.net/ficheapp/plane-a330-1498.htm


Airbus version codes: http://aviation.rosboch.net/?p=5


Would agree with all except the -200 you are showing is P&W powered.
Some see lines, others see between the lines.
 
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Starlionblue
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Re: Can you tell what engine a plane is using just by looking at it?

Wed Jul 11, 2018 7:04 am

Alitalia744 wrote:
Starlionblue wrote:
It depends.

In your particular example it is not a problem. The second digit in Airbus version numbers designates the manufacturer. The A330-223 is GE CF6 powered, while the -243 is RR Trent powered. The engines are distinctively different. In the pics below Malaysia Airlines is a -223 and Thomas Cook is a -243.



Some version differences are impossible to see from the outside. For example the 330-342 and -343 are identical in appearance. The difference is the version of the engine and the weights.

-342 = Trent 772-60
-343 = Trent 772B-60/C-60

The same goes for your various 320 engine variants, like the CFM powered 319s.

-111 = CFM56-5B5/P
-112 = CFM56-5B6/P
-113 = CFM56-5A4
-114 = CFM56-5A5
-115 = CFM56-5B7/P

If you have quite the knowledge of which airline has which variant, that helps. But many airlines use different variants so that doesn't always help.

The only way to be a 100% is to search the registration on a site like Airfleets. For example the Thomas Cook aircraft above: https://www.airfleets.net/ficheapp/plane-a330-1498.htm


Airbus version codes: http://aviation.rosboch.net/?p=5


Would agree with all except the -200 you are showing is P&W powered.



Whoops... You are correct. Here's the decoder ring:
0 = General Electric
1 = CFM International
2 = Pratt and Whitney
3 = IAE (International Aero Engines)
4 = Rolls Royce
6 = Alliance
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
kurtverbose
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Re: Can you tell what engine a plane is using just by looking at it?

Wed Jul 11, 2018 10:09 am

How do you distinguish them on the 787 - they look almost exactly the same?
 
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BWIAirport
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Re: Can you tell what engine a plane is using just by looking at it?

Wed Jul 11, 2018 1:58 pm

kurtverbose wrote:
How do you distinguish them on the 787 - they look almost exactly the same?

Typically GE and RR slap a corporate sticker on the engines to tell you. I can't think of any other obvious differences. And I'm not even sure it's required they label their engines, they just do it sometimes.
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akiss20
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Re: Can you tell what engine a plane is using just by looking at it?

Wed Jul 11, 2018 2:44 pm

kurtverbose wrote:
How do you distinguish them on the 787 - they look almost exactly the same?


If the engines aren't running you can tell because GEnX has titanium leading edges on the fan and RR does not. Running, I am not sure if you really can in any easy way.
Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are
 
freakyrat
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Re: Can you tell what engine a plane is using just by looking at it?

Wed Jul 11, 2018 4:19 pm

Airbus A320's with the CFM engine have fatter nacelles, ones with the V2500 engines have the skinny nacelles.
 
LH707330
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Re: Can you tell what engine a plane is using just by looking at it?

Wed Jul 11, 2018 6:54 pm

akiss20 wrote:
kurtverbose wrote:
How do you distinguish them on the 787 - they look almost exactly the same?


If the engines aren't running you can tell because GEnX has titanium leading edges on the fan and RR does not. Running, I am not sure if you really can in any easy way.

These are tough. The GE has slightly bigger reverser actuators on the bottom, darker fan blades, and has the oil vent tube in the exhaust cone, while the RR has it in a little drain mast under the nacelle. Unless you see them up close, it's tough to tell these apart.

As other have mentioned, the long/short duct works to tell RR apart from GE/PW on the 744, 763, A330, 757, and the IAE/CFM on the 320.

The 777 is a bit tougher because they all have the same basic shape. The GE90 is bigger than the others, the PW has a short pylon, and the RR has a boxy-looking pylon. At some point, you get the hang of it.
 
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Starlionblue
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Re: Can you tell what engine a plane is using just by looking at it?

Thu Jul 12, 2018 2:16 am

It is sometimes easier to remember which airline uses which engine than to try to pick out minor distinctions from a distance.
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
flybaurlax
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Re: Can you tell what engine a plane is using just by looking at it?

Thu Jul 12, 2018 3:44 pm

Here's a quick reference. It doesn't always hold true, but in most cases is accurate.
Looking into the fan, you can tell if GE, Pratt, or RR. GE has a spiral that sort of looks like a "G", Pratt has a single stripe, and RR has a very long spiral on the spinner.

RR
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File ... _747SP.jpg

Pratt
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pratt_%26 ... ne_01b.JPG

GE (including CFM)
http://www.aeroexpo.online/prod/ge-avia ... 6-824.html
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oldannyboy
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Re: Can you tell what engine a plane is using just by looking at it?

Tue Jul 17, 2018 2:09 pm

BWIAirport wrote:
kurtverbose wrote:
How do you distinguish them on the 787 - they look almost exactly the same?

Typically GE and RR slap a corporate sticker on the engines to tell you. I can't think of any other obvious differences. And I'm not even sure it's required they label their engines, they just do it sometimes.



...Sound! ;-)
 
oldannyboy
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Re: Can you tell what engine a plane is using just by looking at it?

Tue Jul 17, 2018 2:16 pm

patrickbks wrote:
I can tell the difference between plane models quite well, aka the difference between an A340-200 and an A340-300 by the eye, but is it possible to tell the difference between say an A330-243 and a A330-223 just by the eye?

Thanks in advance.


Well, yes, you actually can. The engine cowl has a very different design from engine type to engine type (cue the CFM56 vs the V2500 for the A320), as well as overall different proportions in relation to the aircraft/wing (see RR Trent 800 vs GE90 for the 777).
After some time you immediately recognize the different shape of the engine, no big deal. Memorizing which airline picked what will help you associate the engine manufacturer with their own unique design/shape.
And with time you will come to recognize (and appreciate perhaps) engines also for their different sounds - try and look up some noise/sound comparison videos on YouTube for the 777 (RR vs GE vs PW), of the 757 (RR vs PW)...You'll be surprised at how different they are! sometimes as much as a 4-cylinder car vs a V8!!!
 
Wacker1000
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Re: Can you tell what engine a plane is using just by looking at it?

Tue Jul 17, 2018 11:04 pm

kurtverbose wrote:
How do you distinguish them on the 787 - they look almost exactly the same?


The GE powered aircraft is flying and the RR one is parked.
 
LH707330
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Re: Can you tell what engine a plane is using just by looking at it?

Thu Jul 19, 2018 9:20 pm

Wacker1000 wrote:
kurtverbose wrote:
How do you distinguish them on the 787 - they look almost exactly the same?


The GE powered aircraft is flying and the RR one is parked.

Ha ha that's a good one!
 
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Runway28L
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Re: Can you tell what engine a plane is using just by looking at it?

Fri Jul 20, 2018 4:37 am

Here's a comparison of a GE powered 787 and and RR powered one.



The GEnx appears to have a lower number of fan bladed than the RR Trent 1000 but has a larger center spiral. The RR is also labeled on the side most of the time whereas the GE rarely is, but it depends on the airline sometimes.
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DocLightning
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Re: Can you tell what engine a plane is using just by looking at it?

Fri Jul 20, 2018 5:36 am

Runway28L wrote:
The GEnx appears to have a lower number of fan bladed than the RR Trent 1000 but has a larger center spiral. The RR is also labeled on the side most of the time whereas the GE rarely is, but it depends on the airline sometimes.


GE turbofans use composite blades (black) with titanium or steel leading edges. RR turbofans use titanium blades that are all the same dull greyish color (for now).
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george77300
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Re: Can you tell what engine a plane is using just by looking at it?

Mon Jul 23, 2018 1:47 pm

Starlionblue wrote:
It is sometimes easier to remember which airline uses which engine than to try to pick out minor distinctions from a distance.


Very true a lot of the time. Especially with the 787 but then you get airlines like TK that have all 3 engines on their A330 and BA with both RR and GE on the B777 among others. Works most of the time though.
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LH707330
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Re: Can you tell what engine a plane is using just by looking at it?

Tue Jul 24, 2018 6:18 am

george77300 wrote:
Starlionblue wrote:
It is sometimes easier to remember which airline uses which engine than to try to pick out minor distinctions from a distance.


Very true a lot of the time. Especially with the 787 but then you get airlines like TK that have all 3 engines on their A330 and BA with both RR and GE on the B777 among others. Works most of the time though.

The BA 777s are easy, most of them have engine logos, and on climbout they sound different. the GE90 has more of a vacuum-cleaner sounds while the T800 has a buzzsaw.

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