(There's a related question Do two of the same model of aircraft feel different to fly? already. But:

  • It's not about airliners, and most of the answers concern other aircraft.
  • Not one of the answers discusses feel - subjective experience. They discuss performance, position and orientation of controls, where the air-vents are, the lighting - but not how it feels (or sounds or even smells). I'm concerned with this subjective experience.)

By "different airliners of the same type" I mean examples of exactly the same model in the same configuration with the same engine options.

By "feel" I mean how the aircraft responds and behaves, as experienced subjectively by the pilot.

Given a pair of cars of the same model in the same configuration, after a year or so you might well find that one feels different: the steering in one may be twitchier or looser, the clutch bites differently, the brakes respond sooner, it bounces more excitedly over bumps, the gear lever is stiffer.

There may also be different noises from the suspension, or sound from the engine at idle. Perhaps one car smells different on wet or hot days.

Are similar subjective differences apparent to pilots of different examples of the same airliner?

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ DeltaLima has posted an answer to the question you reference that addresses airliners. $\endgroup$
    – Koyovis
    Commented Feb 4, 2018 at 1:37
  • $\begingroup$ @PeterKämpf @ koyovis I have excluded exactly those kind of differences ("position and orientation of controls", "performance", both listed in the question as not the kind of difference I am asking about) from the scope of this one. "Difficult lateral trim" is not quite what I want to know about, but it's closest. The analogous examples from driving a car that I gave are an indication of what I mean. $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 4, 2018 at 9:42
  • $\begingroup$ Engines are flat rated exactly to remove differences between aircraft of the same configuration, expect for their tail number. They need to perform predictably as per the flight manual, so the pilot gets no surprises. See: aviation.stackexchange.com/questions/46577/… $\endgroup$
    – Penguin
    Commented Feb 4, 2018 at 12:07

1 Answer 1


By "feel" I mean how the aircraft responds and behaves, as experienced subjectively by the pilot.

Yes, there are differences but they are generally small and might not be equally apparent to all pilots. That, of course, is a problem with "subjective differences."

However, I do remember a 747-200 that I flew that did have a distinctive difference from other -200s of the same configuration, and a difference that other pilots noticed.

"...when I pulled the power at 50 feet, the plane sunk like a rock....The captain later apologized for not warning me that this particular airplane (I hadn't been in it before) had a tendency to drop out of the sky when you pulled the power."

The quoted excerpts are from the third paragraph of https://terryliittschwager.com/Journal/1995-07-04.html.

  • $\begingroup$ Exactly the kind of thing I was looking for thanks. Do you have any idea why this particular aircraft had this tendency? $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 9, 2018 at 8:39
  • $\begingroup$ @DanieleProcida No, I don't, and it wasn't something that within the context of the company I was flying for would have been pursued. And, once you knew about it, you just planned for it. $\endgroup$
    – Terry
    Commented Sep 9, 2018 at 20:59

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