Landing Gear Procedures

There have been a few people that I know that have asked “when should I extend and retract my landing gear on takeoff and landing?” I would not say the answer is set in stone and it all depends on what aircraft you are flying. Real world commercial airlines have their own different procedures for how to operate the landing gear. But for now this discussion is focused on IF. Most of the time the goal is to keep your landing gear retracted as much as possible to reduce drag on both takeoff and landing. There is one exception however, for example you are coming in for a landing at a high aproach. You have your flaps and spoilers extended as much as possible but still need to slow down more. This is when you would lower your gear to create more drag (this is assuming you are under the airspeed limitations for extended gear on that specific aircraft). When coming in for landing I usually like to lower my gear around 1,000’ - 1,500’ AGL. On takeoff you should wait until you have a positive rate. You do not want to leave your gear down for an extended amount of time on takeoff especially when flying larger heavier aircraft because it will greatly reduce your airspeed capabilities when climbing out. Hope this helps anyone with this question. If you have something else to say about this please let me know!


If my memory serves me correctly, you need to be fully configured before 3.5nm out(from runway). It’s been a while since I watched Capt Joe’s vid.


I would guess you would be at about 1,000’ AGL 3 miles out.


My uncle is a real world pilot and said you should do it 7-8 nm out(A320 pilot)


I typically do it around 6nm out - but always before the “halfway” of typical approaches (5nm)

Generally speaking, you should do it at glideslope capture for an ILS or the final approach fix (FAF) for every other type of approach. If done for a visual approach, I agree that anywhere between 7-8 miles is appropriate. Rule of thumb with bigger jets is you must be fully configured for landing and stabilized at 1000’ above field elevation.

As for takeoff, immediately as you get a positive rate of climb gear should be retracted.

@Josh_Suarez that is what I normally do, once established on ILS will retract landing gear unless ordered to move quickly in which case I might wait until maybe 5 nm out at the least.

Lowering the gear is always a function of what speed you are flying as well as meeting the stability criteria which vary airline to airline but is generally fully configured by 1000ft AAL.

Speed management on final approach might be dictated by ATC and the following is a common request IRL - “Reduce speed to xxx, maintain to x miles”. The speeds you will be asked are usually similar to the following:

180kts to 6 miles
170kts to 5 miles
160kts to 4 miles


Scenario 1: Intercept the localiser at 180kts, flaps 2 gear up in a A320. Not told any further speed control and handed to tower. Assuming no conflict exists, at 6 miles: gear down, flap 3 and then flap full, reducing to your final approach speed.

Scenario 2: On the localiser in an A320, flaps 2 and asked by ATC to reduce to 160kts. Speed brake is available to assist with slowing down if it doesn’t want to (things such as wind can make it difficult to slow down whilst going down on the glideslope). At 4 miles: gear down, flaps 3, flaps full whilst reducing to your final approach speed.

It is not always in a set place. But the key thing is that if on IF, and you can see it is busy on approach, the approach controller might be assigning a lot of speed commands - please follow them to the best of your ability. At a single runway airport that is busy it would be quite common to get reduced to 160kts, please don’t slow down unessarily because you might end up closing the gap with the aircraft behind you which could cause a go-around or the loss of a space that a departure could have departed in.


For us it’s at 2000’ AAL so just under 7nm from touchdown.

To achieve the stable approach criteria you need to be on a recognised approach path, engines stabalised and in the landing configuration at or approaching final approach speed (only approaching if speed held high by ATC or by gusty conditions +10kts decreasing) by 1000’ AAL otherwise it’s a mandatory go-around.

Of course if you can’t slow it down on the approach or you have a very shortened approach path which leaves you high you can drop the gear to assist in aerodynamic braking!!!



If I am established on the localizer and glideslope, IF will display a “GEAR UP” warning immediately to the bottom left of the altimeter tape when I am 7.2 miles out. This warning is in the same green color as everything else on the HUD, so it may not be immediately obvious. Perhaps the developers should make it appear in red. In any case, it looks like the developers feel that gear should be down at 7 miles out. I fly the Cessna Citation X.

Hi Robert,

In real life the ‘gear warning’ is a function of the EGPWS system fitted to the aircraft.

It ‘knows’ you are on final approach and selecting toward the landing config so it gives you a reminder. Not sure of the triggers for the Citation but in the 777 if you aren’t in the landing config with landing flap and gear down by, I believe, 1000’ it will start shouting pull up warnings at you. If you select landing flap before the gear it will shout at you too!!! (it nags more than my better half!)

Each aircraft is different depending upon the manufacturer and the mod state of the EGPWS (or even if it’s there!)

In fighters we would often pull the gear in the downwind from a run in and break at 280kts, 200’ above the threshold in a 60 degree AOB turn! All helps. ;D

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If I am not mistaken, the “GEAR UP” warning in IF is programmed to come up once you deploy full flaps, regardless of your position or distance from the runway.


That’s the same IRL. Anytime the flaps are moved to a landing configuration, the gear warning horn sounds in complex aircraft. That’s how it is in the DA42 i fly

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I think you are right.

That would be a great feature to add to IF since lots of new people forget to drop their gear.

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