Wide-body versus narrow-body: The difference between a 'wide-body' and a 'narrow-body' aircraft is simply the number of aisles in the airplane. While most narrow-body, single-aisle airplanes can carry up to 200 passengers, wide-body, double-aisle airplanes can carry as many as 450 passengers. The Boeing 777-300 is the most common large passenger aircraft spotted at Pearson.
Auxiliary Power Unit (APU): Look for this small engine on the tail of the aircraft. It provides power while the plane is on the ground eliminating the need to run the massive engines. The APU varies in shape depending on the type of aircraft.
Landing gear: This set of retractable wheels is used for taking off and landing and moving around the taxiways. The larger the aircraft, the more wheels needed to support its weight. For example, the Airbus A-380 has 22 wheels to support its massive weight.
Engines: Modern jet engines for passenger aircraft are located on the wings. Different types of engines can be quieter. For example, the Boeing 787 Dreamliner engines have scalloped edges making it one of the quietest planes in the air. Today's aircraft are 75% quieter and more efficient than they were in the 1960s because of the small honeycomb mesh pieces installed in the engines to absorb sound.
Doors: Count the number of doors on the aircraft. Larger aircraft means more doors. The Boeing 777-300 has five doors on each side.
Winglets: These are pieces of metal on the wingtip of an aircraft. The first winglets were designed in the 1970s. They were primarily used to retrofit aging aircraft to boost their performance. These days, many aircraft manufacturers are building winglets directly into the design of their airplanes. Boeing claims that winglets on their 757 and 767 airplanes have reduced fuel consumption and CO2 emissions by 5% each, a move that, when spread across an entire fleet, can make a significant difference for consumers and the planet.