Spotting 3-Engine Jet Airliners


Does the Airliner Have Three Engines?

If the airliner has three engines, one in the tail and one each under each wing or one on either side of the rear fuselage, it is an older aircraft, probably a Boeing 727, Douglas DC-10, McDonnell-Douglas MD-11 or Lockheed L-1011. It could also be a Russian-built Tupolev TU-154.

Few of these tri-jets are in service today, and many of those are cargo jets.

Delta Air Lines Boeing 727-200, one engine in the tail, two engines on either side of the rear fuselage

See more Boeing 727 photographs and spotting tips

Boeing 727 in Delta Air Lines livery


Northwest Air Lines Douglas DC-10

See more DC-10 photographs and spotting tips

Northwest Air Lines Douglas DC-10

Delta Air Lines McDonnell-Douglas MD-11 wide-body tri-jet

See more MD-11 photographs and spotting tips

Delta Air Lines McDonnell-Douglas MD-11

The wide-body, tri-jet Lockheed L-1011 Tristar

See more L-100 Tristar photographs and spotting tips

Lockheed L-1011 Tristar

Tupolev Tu-154 Medium-Range, Narrow-body Airliner

The design of the Tu-154 features a T-Tail, three-engine configuration in the tail, and two six-wheel main landing gear arrangements. It also utilizes on each side of the fuselage three cabin doors along with two over-the-wing emergency exit doors.

Seating capacity ranges from 164 - 180 passengers.

In total, 930 Tu-154 aircraft were built.

(Photo courtesy of Tupolev)

Tupolev TU-154 Trijet Airliner

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