I work underneath a certain airway near the local airport, and airplanes fly almost directly over my workplace, often low enough to make out some details. Naturally, I can only see their bellies from below. Unfortunately, the landing gears are stowed at this distance (otherwise it would be too easy). While there are a ton of excellent resources on this site and many others, they don't necessarily focus on spotting planes from below.

Understandably there is a similar question asked on this site. However, (1) the question implicitly refers to silhouettes of planes flying high(er) up in the air, and (2) the answers all refer to external resources (i.e. books).

I would like to see some pictures illustrating the differences of bellies among common air transport aircraft models at whatever altitude that is typical around 5-10NM from the runway. (That would be 1600-3200ft assuming 3 degree glide slope.)

So far I can only make out engine chevrons on Boeing planes, count the number of engines and flap fairings (is there any pattern to the number of fairings?), look up the registration number painted under the wing (duh), and not much else.


closed as too broad by ymb1, fooot, Sean, xxavier, Gerry Feb 12 at 12:49

Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer. Avoid asking multiple distinct questions at once. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • $\begingroup$ Have you tried flightrafar24 and such. It is a cheating but it works :) $\endgroup$ – vasin1987 Feb 11 at 20:11
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    $\begingroup$ @vasin1987, It's not cheating if you call it training :-) $\endgroup$ – DeltaLima Feb 11 at 21:12
  • $\begingroup$ There are websites that help teach airplane spotting, as well as websites dedicated to airplane photos. Any answer to the question in its current state will miss some (or won't be able to find proper belly views of all) jet-liner variants and engine options. So IMO it's too broad. If the question is, for example, how to distinguish an A319 from an A320, then it wouldn't be too broad. $\endgroup$ – ymb1 Feb 11 at 21:30
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    $\begingroup$ What you can (also) do, at least for some airliners, is to look at publicly available "Airport Planning Manuals", e.g. for Boeing. These manuals contain the characteristics for each airplane, from an airport manager point of view. You may find here some visual elements. $\endgroup$ – mins Feb 11 at 21:35
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    $\begingroup$ Not a complete answer, but the Next Generation Boeing 737s (i.e., -600 to -900) do not have landing gear bay covers, but instead have a (somehwat) aerodynamically shaped cover plate on the outer wheel. See e.g. here. Furthermore, sweep angle varies, but not so much that it would be easily distinguishable from the ground up. $\endgroup$ – Bram Feb 11 at 23:44