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Question History!
From : gpressel
To : saintly
User Comment : Thanks for your help. I have found several promising sites and one picture of a place that is simalar to the one we saw. When I have some more time I am sure I will find the specific plane we saw.
Rating :
Message Status : Public

[08-21-2000] gpressel : My son and I recently saw an airplane flying overhead. I could not identify it. Went to the web to search but was frustrated be my inability to find a site to use to visually identify the plane. Is there a good way to search for this type of visual identification information?
[08-21-2000] saintly : Hi there!

Perhaps the best link I found is a manual on aircraft recognition, with silhouettes and line drawings of various types of aircraft, by aircraft type, as well as other information on visual aircraft identification:

If you can identify the basic type of aircraft (military bomber, fighter, cargo, civilian, etc) you can go to the chapter for it. Otherwise, you must page throught he chapters to see if you can identify the plane based on the drawings.

Historic aircraft recognition guides:

Historic aircraft (in use around 1917):

Aircraft recognition guides for aircraft from the 1950s-1960s


The undisputed best book on the subject is Jane's Aircraft Recognition Guide, $18 but the best book you can probably find to help you identify any aircraft. Over 500 military and civilian aircraft types, with 3-view silhouettes and technical data.

Another useful book is Turbine Pilot's Flight Manual, although aimed at pilots, it has an extensive section of line-drawings of many types of aircraft.

Other (book) aircraft recognition guides:

If you are willing to browse or search image archives to see if you can recognize the aircraft you saw earlier, there are several image archives available to choose from.

Image archives for all types of aircraft:

Searchable database of aircraft pictures (Searches only broad categories, to try to use it for aircraft identification, you can search by aircraft type (military, cargo, etc..) or paint scheme)

There are several codes that describe an aircraft when put together, this might save you from searching picture by picture. Once you can make the code that describes the aircraft you saw, you can search on it to see pictures.

Then search on the code:

Lots of different images, by aircraft type (military/civilian):

Image archives for military aircraft:

Air Combat Command gallery of aircraft images (military only):

Globemaster (US Military Aviation database), searchable by tail codes on the planes if you caught them.

Image archives of Civilian or historic military aircraft:

Seattle Museum of Flight's collections; images (mostly historic aircraft):

Light aircraft gallery, by wing type:

Civil Aviation Encyclopedia:

Virtual Library of links to Aviation Images

Virtual Libraries for Aerospace and Aviation
(Categories of links, yahoo-style)

Miscellaneous: If the subject interests you sufficiently, you may want to browse the net for more aircraft information, or join a group that also enjoys spotting aircraft. Here are some other interesting links:

"Spotters" are hobbyists who like to photograph and log different types of aircraft. A closely-related skill is being able to identify the aircraft. Some prominent pages for spotters groups are:

You may be able to describe the aircraft sufficiently to one of the site maintainers, and they could help you find the aircraft type.

Links to tons of aircraft sites, by country:

Other Photo Galleries (collections by photographer):

Hope that helps! If all else fails, you can try to reply with a description of the aircraft, and I'll do the best I can to come back with aircraft types for you.
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