The Airbus A340 family was developed simultaneously with the twin-engined A330. Except for the number of engines and main landing gears, they are very similar in appearance. So the four engined A340 has the same cockpit windows with the cut-off corner on the last window. Also, it has the canted winglets, at an angle of 45 degfress compared to the wings. Finally, the A340 has the last row of cabin windows that appears to be curved up. Unlike the A330, the A340 has a third main landing gear, with two or four wheels, depending on the exact variant.
To differentiate between the different A340 subtypes you have to look at
- the length of the fuselage
- the shape of the engine nacelles
- the number and location of cabin doors and emergency exits
- the number of wheels on the centre main gear
The first generation A340 consists of the -200 and -300 series. The A340-200 is the shortest of the two. To distinguish it from the 4 m longer A340-300 look at the location of the second main door: at the -200 it is nearly above the starting point of the wing root. At the A340-300 it is clearly before the wing root.
The A340-300 is the longest of the first generation A340. To distinguish it from the 4 metre shorter A340-200 look at the location of the second main door. This is before the wing root at the -300 and above the leading edge of the wing root at the -200.
The second generation A340 has two main recognition points compared to the series 200 and 300: they have different engines with separated fan exhausts, and the centre main landing gear leg has four wheels instead of two. It is rotated forward, while the other two bogeys are tilted backward. The A340-500 is the shortest of the second series, but about four metres longer than the A340-300.
The longest version of the A340, and the second-longest jet airliner in the world after the Boeing 747-8, is the A340-600. It has the same differences compared to the A340-200/300 as the A340-500, but has a clearly longer fuselage. Still the number of main doors is the same, four on each side.
Confusion possible with
The A330 and A340 are externally very similar except for two big differences: the A330 has two engines while the A340 has four, and the A330 has no third, centre main landing gear.
It is no surprise if you mistake an Ilyushin Il‑86 or Il‑96 for an Airbus A340. The differences are quite small. Look first at the last cockpit window and the winglets to distinguish them. When looking further you will also notice more subtle differences in tail cone, vertical stabiliser and landing gear.