Boeing 757

The Boeing 757 and 767 were developed simultaneously. Hence it is not strange that both aircraft have a lot in common. Look for example at the shape of the cockpit windows, tailcone and vertical stabiliser. However, the Boeing 757 has a single aisle and a narrower fuselage, compared to the wide body 767. This results in a different nose shape and appearance. Although different, the bottom edges of the cockpit side windows still form a V shape like on the 737 and earlier models.

The Boeing 757 has only four wheels on each main landing gear leg. The bogeys are slightly tilted backwards when the aircraft is off the ground. Many Boeing 757s have been fitted with winglets after delivery. This has not changed the type designation however.

The nose of Boeing 757, with same cockpit windows as the Boeing 767.

This is what the winglets of the Boeing 757 look like.

Different versions

To differentiate between the different 757 subtypes you have to look at

  • the length of the fuselage
  • the existence of a cargo door in the left forward fuselage
  • the existence of cabin windows
  • the number and location of cabin doors and emergency exits

Boeing 757-200

This is the original version of the 757, of which also most were built. It comes with two engine options, the Rolls Royce RB211 or the Pratt & Whitney PW2000 series. Early RB211 versions had a separate fan exhaust but a short core exhaust; later models had a single exhaust for fan and core. PW2000 series engines always have a separate fan exhaust with a long core exhaust.

The US Air Force operates blue-white painted 757-200 VIP aircraft as C-32A. Converted standard commercial 757-200s, often painted all white, are designated C-32B.

The Boeing 757-200 is the shortest of the two main variants of the 757.

Later RB211 powered aircraft had the 535E4 version with a single exhaust.

A USAF C-32A, a special VIP version of the Boeing 757-200,

Originally, all 757s had RB211-535C engines, recognised by the short core exhaust.

Pratt & Whitney engine on the Boeing 757 have a long core exhaust.

Boeing 757-200M (757 Combi)

A forward cargo door combined with many cabin windows are the recognition points of the combi version, dubbed 757-200M. Most are conversions of standard passenger aircraft.

The combi version of the 757 (Boeing 757-200M) has a large cargo door but also many cabin windows. (photo: Aldo Bidini/WikiMedia)

Boeing 757-200PF

In response to a requirement from UPS Boeing developed a dedicated freighter version, designated 757-200PF, in which PF stands for package freighter. It has no cabin windows, unlike converted passenger aircraft (Boeing 757-200SF).

The Boeing 757-200PF has no cabin windows, nor remnants of them. Just a large cargo door.

Boeing 757-200SF

Passenger 757-200s converted to freighter are known as 757-200SF, special freighter. They can be recognised from the 757-200M and 757-200PF by the painted over metalplugs instead of the cabin windows.

The Boeing 757-200SF has a cargo door and painted over metal plugs in place of the cabin windows.

Boeing 757-300

The 757-300 is much longer than the 200 series, seven metres to be precise. To accommodate more passengers it has two small over wing emergency exits on each side, which are lacking on the 757-200.

The Boeing 757-300 is significanly longer than the -200. It has two small overwing emergency exits.

Confusion possible with

Boeing 767

b767 300er

Like explained in the main text the Boeing 757 and 767 have a lot in common when it comes to external recognition points. The main difference is in the fuselage diameter, which is narrower on the 757 than on the 767. Thus in particular the nose shapes are different. Additionally, the main landing gear bogeys are tilted forward when the aircraft is not on the ground.

Tupolev 204

tu 204

The Tupolev 204 is often called the Russian 757 and when you look at both aircraft you can see why. Still of you look closely it is not so difficult to distinguish them. In particular look at the cockpit windows (no V shape) and vertical stabiliser (taller on 757). Also the Tu-204 has standard winglets, which are smaller than on the Boeing 757.

Airbus A321


The A321 and Boeing 757-200 are similar in size and basic configuration. It is best to look at the number of wheels on the main landing gear to keep them apart: the A321 has two wheels per leg, the 757 four.