What kind of plane is this?

I work under the flight path of the San Jose International Airport and saw a pretty weird looking plane.

It seemed to be about the size of a small 737, or maybe a little smaller. It had a long fuselage with what appeared to be a stubby canard in front. The wings were mounted far back, well past the midpoint of the fuselage. The two engines appeared to be “pusher” turbo-props, mounted on the empannage behind the wings. It had a “T” tail. I don’t remember if there were windows down the fusalage or not.

Does anybody know what kind of plane this is?


Piaggio P180 Avanti. Only it’s quite a bit smaller than a 737.

More pics.

No, that doesn’t seem right. The plane I saw was much bigger, AND, I’m pretty sure the engines were mounted on the empannage, not the wings. Thanks for the suggestion, though.


An Avanti 180, perhaps?

Bah, beaten by faster typists!

Could it be a Beechcraft Starship?

Here’s a pic from the top.

ETA - I guess this probably isn’t it, since there is no T-tail.

It would be a rare sight since there are only a handful flying.

The Avanti matches every point except for size and engine location. Is it possible that from a distance and from a certain angle the engines appeared to be on the empannage? Was there anything nearby to give scale to the aircraft? If not, could it have appeared to be larger than it was?

There aren’t that many canard-configured aircraft around. Here are some examples.

No, that’s not it. No T tail. Thanks for the suggestion.


Were there any airline markings on it? I often see two-engined, dual propeller driven commuter airliners landing as I drive through LAX, which do have the T-tail, but have wing-mounted props.

Actually, I’m more sure about the size and the empannage mount than the canard. I see planes fly overhead all the time, and have a pretty good “eye” for the size of the plane. The front of the fuselage has “bulges” on the side, right where a canard would be mounted. I didn’t actually SEE the canard, just the bulges, but assumed the canard was “stubby” and not visible from my vantage point.

I looked through the list of canard planes from the Wikipedia link, but the plane I saw is not shown there.


I don’t remember seeing any airline markings on it. If they were there, they were pretty subtle.


That is what I was thinking of as well. IIRC there is only one left flying. The manufacturer wanted them all destroyed because the project almost bankrupted the comapny by itself. One man wouldn’t give his up and it is the only one left.

I’m wondering if that DC-9 that was fitted with scimitar supersonic (or so) prop blades mounted to turboshaft engines is still flying? I’m googling like mad, but so far no joy.

Here’s a prototype rendering though I’m sure the thing got built.

Too much doffe and being laid off leads to overly quick responses: No canards!

Actually, since he said that the plane might not have had canards, I’m leaning towards it being something from the McDonald Douglas/Boeing DC-9/MD-80/717 family of airliners, which IIRC are in the same size-range as a 737, and have turbofan engines mounted on the empanage with a T-tail. Having the engines on the back of the plane would also move the center-of-lift back, necessitating having the wings farther back as well.

The planes are sometimes used by freight-hauling services too, as well as the United States Air Force and Navy (only the Navy Reserves still fly the DC-9, which they call the C-9B Skytrain II, the Air Force retired their fleet of C-9A Nightingales back in 2005)

Of course, this raises the question, jharvey963, are you reasonably sure it had pusher-props and not simply turbofans mounted in that position?

If you saw this plane today or in the recent past, visit FlightAware and check out the airport activity for SJC and see what was landing/taking off at the time you saw the plane.

All I know is that I saw spinning blades at the rear of the engines. I can’t say for sure if it was a prop or a turbofan.


Check this sweet little beauty out. Very nice!