For complex aircraft, I had always been taught to begin the before landing checklist, or the gear down before landing checklist, abeam the touchdown point, which for me is normally the thousand foot markers. However, I recently heard a DPE say to begin the checklist at midfield.

Which is the appropriate method? There could be many opinions offered on this; however, opinions aside, what might be the considerations that would lead to beginning the checklist sooner? Is there a prescribed point to begin the checklist that I have overlooked, for example in the Practical Test Standards or elsewhere?

  • $\begingroup$ I suspect the DPE's point was that you shouldn't rush or let yourself get behind the aircraft, and putting the gear down slightly earlier may help with that, especially with a short runway, non-standard pattern or other 'distracting' situations. The C182RG POH actually recommends extending the gear before entering the pattern, to give yourself more time to confirm it's down and locked. I don't think there's any 'rule' here, it comes down to what you're comfortable and safe with. $\endgroup$
    – Pondlife
    Mar 19 '16 at 15:33
  • $\begingroup$ Anything that makes you comfortable. I agree with Pondlife - the best time for gear extension is subject to the pilot's skills, specific aircraft type & approach complexity. E.g. if it's a tight pattern due to high terrain surround all sides, you may want to extend the gear (or even do the whole landing checklist) earlier. $\endgroup$
    – kevin
    Mar 19 '16 at 15:45