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How far out from landing does the gear come down?

How far out from landing does the gear come down?

Old Apr 7, 15, 10:54 pm
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How far out from landing does the gear come down?

I flew into Auckland, New Zealand a couple of days ago. We came in from the North which is unusual as majority of my approaches (98%) have been from the South. Could only just see the coastline then there was a noise which sounded like the landing gear coming down. I looked at the airshow time which showed 6mins to landing. It just seemed a bit early to have the landing gear down. Then at 2mins there was another noise which was similar but shorter but I looked out the window and saw the front of the wings flap things were forward so I figured that must have been noise number 2.

I can't really remember when the landing gear comes down (I don't think I take any notice) and I think the only reason I noticed it this time was because we had a different approach. It was a 777-300, not the more obvious prop planes but even those I think come down closer to the approach.

Of course I'll never be sure when the wheels came down, but what would have been the likely noises at those times prior to landing?

We had no problems with our landing, just a small amount of sway.
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Old Apr 7, 15, 11:02 pm
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How far out from landing does the gear come down?

It depends on the aircraft type, partly, as to what the SOP is in terms of gear coming down. It can be used as a tool to slow down an aircraft in addition to the flaps and spoilers/air brakes.

On an Airbus A319/20/21 it is very easy to tell when the gear is deployed. You can feel the aircraft slow significantly and there's a sensation of the aircraft's tail wanting to rise.

A common sensation of rumbling about 6 minutes away from landing would have been the deployment of spoilers which can cause some cabin noise (the airflow over the wing becomes turbulent and noisy).
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Old Apr 8, 15, 1:59 am
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i live about 6 mins by air from london stansted , some will already have the wheels down when they fly over my house , so yeah 5-6 mins seems accurate
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Old Apr 8, 15, 8:33 am
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It truly depends on the approach and a number of other factors, an frankly on how the pilots want to fly the approach. I've done the same flights weekly for a few months and observed very different patterns - sometimes we'd do a big circle (not a holding pattern - the wind dictated doing a 270 before landing) with the gear down for even up to 10 mins flying very slowly, and sometimes the gear was down only on what appeared to be the short final.

The first "gearlike" sound before landing is usually the flaps extending. Depending on the type and where you seat, the sound may not be easily distinguishable from the gear extending. The latter is usually followed by a loud thud as the gear locks, but the loudness thereof that also depends on the type and where you sit.
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Old Apr 8, 15, 10:22 am
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Originally Posted by paul4040 View Post
On an Airbus A319/20/21 it is very easy to tell when the gear is deployed. You can feel the aircraft slow significantly and there's a sensation of the aircraft's tail wanting to rise.
What does that mean? You don't feel the tail rise, but you feel something else as the tail doesn't move?
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Old Apr 8, 15, 10:41 am
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"tail rising" = "nose dropping" ... as in the aircraft is pitching downward slightly

this is pretty normal when the landing gear are lowered, since the aerodynamics change considerably due to the increase in drag
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Old Apr 8, 15, 10:50 am
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Originally Posted by jrl767 View Post
"tail rising" = "nose dropping" ... as in the aircraft is pitching downward slightly

this is pretty normal when the landing gear are lowered, since the aerodynamics change considerably due to the increase in drag
No the sensation is of the tail wanting to rise rather than the nose dropping. Think about what a bike does when you use the front brake; the tail end rises as if wishing to overtake the front and you can feel this. It is a distinct feeling from a simple pitch-down (that also happens shortly after flap deployment). Gear down produces a lot of drag and it slows the aircraft down considerably.
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Old Apr 8, 15, 3:58 pm
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I sat recently on the banks of the Thames watching aircraft landing into LHR. At the same point (even same aircraft type) the wheels were always down at different points. I was in Wandsworth at the time and some A380s had them out crossing the giver, others in the process of dropping and dome with none out at all. The same was the case with A320s B777s so I guess it just depends.
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Old Apr 8, 15, 6:33 pm
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As mentioned, it completely depends on when it's a appropriate but never later than the company SOP or stabilized approach criteria. This may be an altitude or distance from the runway or even both. Gear is used to increase drag and slow the aeroplane down. Sometimes, especially at LHR, ATC ask to keep speed up until a certain point. Dropping the gear tactically at the right time or point can help slow.
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Old Apr 8, 15, 11:41 pm
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I'm going to guess it was at 6 mins I think. It felt like it and there was some "wind" type noise afterwards. We get a good tail wind coming from Oz so it would make sense it might have been dropped earlier than usual to slow us down coming straight into line with the runway. Usually we get to circle most of Auckland, a good 270 degrees at least before lining the runway up when coming from the other direction.

I am in awe of the actual planes themselves. They're very elegant to watch.
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Old Apr 9, 15, 12:17 am
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Originally Posted by NZbutterfly View Post
I'm going to guess it was at 6 mins I think. It felt like it and there was some "wind" type noise afterwards. We get a good tail wind coming from Oz so it would make sense it might have been dropped earlier than usual to slow us down coming straight into line with the runway. Usually we get to circle most of Auckland, a good 270 degrees at least before lining the runway up when coming from the other direction.

I am in awe of the actual planes themselves. They're very elegant to watch.
You wouldn't have landed with a tail wind. Aircraft always land into the wind. It is the airspeed that counts (the speed of the [moving] air relative to the wing) rather than actual speed over the ground. Thus, an aircraft with an approach speed of 140kt with a 20kt steady headwind actually covers 120kt over the ground, because the relative speed of the air over the wings remains 140kt.
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Old Apr 9, 15, 3:14 am
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Not answering the above questions, but here's a video of a DHL MD-10F dropping the landing gear dangerously late. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KDgvWa-EbbE
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Old Apr 9, 15, 6:09 am
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Originally Posted by paul4040 View Post
You wouldn't have landed with a tail wind. Aircraft always land into the wind.
Not true at all. A/C can and do land with a tailwind up to a certified limit and subject to the crew being happy to do so. Although sometimes there is no choice.
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Old Apr 9, 15, 6:25 am
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Depends on the alitude durning the approach,you are setting up a glide slope.
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Old Dec 3, 19, 9:07 pm
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Minute and a half to 3 minutes

Iím not a pilot but fly fairly regularly. Mostly to the same two airports but also about half a dozen other airports per year.

As a thing to do to pass time I started timing flight phases about 5 years ago. Specifically I time from brakes off (or engine rev up if the aircraft rolls directly to takeoff) to wheels off ground, overall flight time, landing gear down to touchdown then touchdown to brakes off (or as near as I can estimate that braking has stopped and roll out to the off ramp has commenced).

I travel mostly on Q400s 737 and A320s. The timing doesnít seem to change much, the smaller aircraft lean towards lower times but it is not a rule based on my experience.

The landing gear, very predictably goes down on most flights between 1 1/2 and three minutes to touchdown, mostly leaning toward 3 mins. Naturally there are occasions where it is more or less but if you are flying and the gear comes out, you are very probably within 3 mins of landing. The airport, weather and flight pattern would influence when the gear comes out but i donít recall timing anything over 6 mins. I donít think I ever timed a landing with less than one minute between gear down and touchdown but Iím sure they happen.
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