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I have just spotted a cameo in one of the old CSI:NY episodes. External shot showed a commercial jet, rather big aircraft, with rear tail-mounted engines. While internal shots shown 3+3 seat rows configuration and around 150-180 passengers.

Is this combination ever possible or is this an in-movie mistake?

I was always told that rear tail-mounted engines are capable of powering smaller aircraft only (like MD-8x and Canadairs) which are always configured in 2+2 seat rows set and are capable of delivering around 100 passengers at most.

What am I missing (note that I am not talking about trijets)?

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    $\begingroup$ The interior shot was probably of a different aircraft. DC-9 and MD-80 aircraft are 5 abreast with up to 150 passengers. $\endgroup$ – Mike Sowsun Oct 11 at 19:46
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    $\begingroup$ The Internet Movie Plane Database lists only 2 commercial aircraft for CSI:NY. A 727 and a 767. $\endgroup$ – Gerry Oct 11 at 21:21
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    $\begingroup$ Only thing I could find with tail-mounted engines and 3+3 seating is the Tu-334, but only 2 were ever built and ironically it is smaller (seats about 100). $\endgroup$ – fooot Oct 11 at 21:59
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    $\begingroup$ @fooot: The 727 (one of which, as Gerry says, is explicitly mentioned by IMPDB as having shown up in CSI-NY) had three engines, all tail-mounted, and six-abreast seating, and the ability to carry (for the 727-200) up to 189 passengers. $\endgroup$ – Sean Oct 11 at 22:11
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    $\begingroup$ @trejder Your mistake is assuming that the editors of a TV show would care about that sort of technical consistency on something like a secondary scene with filler like that. The interior shot and exterior shot will have absolutely no connection - the exterior shot being a stock clip grabbed from somewhere by someone with no clue or care. $\endgroup$ – John K Oct 12 at 0:52
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If it was a season 5 episode, it was most likely N7264U, a 727-200:1

Season Five

Boeing 727-222

Ep. 5.25

Registration N7264U, c/n 21411/1346 built in 1978 for United. Based at Ontario International Airport (ONT/KONT) in California, where this was most likely filmed.

The 727's three Pratt & Whitney JT8D engines are all mounted on/in its tail, and the plane was large enough to have six-abreast (3+3) seating, as can be seen in this 727-200 seatmap found via a quick google (this particular seatmap is for an EAL 727, but the 3+3 seating was common to all passenger 727s of which I am aware):

727 seatmap

(Image by Eastern Airlines, via Darren at Frequently Flying.)

And the 727-200's maximum passenger capacity was 189, according to Wikipedia, although it more usually carried 134 (in a two-class configuration) to 155 (all-economy arrangement), so it fits the 150-180-passenger requirement (and even exceeds it slightly at the upper end).

And yes, I know it's a trijet, but:

  • the #2 engine is buried within the 727's tailcone and mostly concealed from view, unlike the large, obvious pods holding the #1 and #3 engines (as opposed to, say, a DC-10, whose centerline engine and associated intake duct form a huge conspicuous cylinder above the fuselage at the base of the vertical stabiliser);
  • as for the centerline engine's tailpipe (which is visible, sticking out the tip of the tail, if you look carefully), the JT8D is a slim low-bypass turbofan, making for a much narrower and less obtrusive tailpipe compared to the chunky high-bypass engines that occupy the tailcone of (say) an L-1011 or Yak-42;

...and, putting both of those together, and considering that it was a (presumably brief) cameo giving no reason, and little opportunity, for you to pay close attention to the tip of the aircraft's tailcone, it's perfectly possible that what you saw was, in fact, a (trijet) 727, and that you simply didn't notice the easy-to-miss-at-a-brief-glance middle engine.


1: Thanx to Gerry for providing the link.

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