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The landing gear should be down in order to qualify as a stabilized approach. Other than that, what are the guidelines on when to deploy landing gear on approach?

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    $\begingroup$ "Before contact with the ground" is generally considered to be optimal, and has noise abatement benefits (what's louder: the gear horn, or the sound of metal dragging on the runway?) $\endgroup$ – voretaq7 May 3 '14 at 1:32
  • $\begingroup$ Just opened this site to ask pretty much the same question and yours was the first of the top questions :D $\endgroup$ – André Stannek May 19 '14 at 6:43
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    $\begingroup$ @voretaq7 In addition to the noise abatement concerns, I hear it also has significant operational cost and even customer satisfaction benefits. $\endgroup$ – reirab Feb 1 '15 at 4:23
  • $\begingroup$ I have never flown P1 in a retractable gear a/c, but the downwind checklist had it gear as the second item (brakes, undercarriage, mixture, pitch, carb. heat, fuel, flaps, gauges, hatch, harness) :-). $\endgroup$ – copper.hat Apr 20 at 20:07
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As late as possible to still meet your company's specific stabilized approach guidelines (mine were 500 ft VMC, 1000 ft IMC). If you need the drag, then use them earlier.

In the EMB-145 in still wind or a headwind you could cross the FAF at 250 kts and clean and be on speed and configured by 1000' if you dropped the gear at the FAF (and opened the speed brakes and the first notch of flaps all at once). Normally though, I'd drop the gear around 1000'.

Acronyms:

  • VMC = visual meteorological conditions
  • IMC = instrument meteorological conditions
  • FAF = final approach fix
  • EMB-145 is the type designator for the Embraer 145 regional jet
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    $\begingroup$ Could you define the acronyms? $\endgroup$ – CGCampbell May 19 '14 at 0:43
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    $\begingroup$ @CGCampbell VMC = visual meteorological conditions, IMC = instrument meteorological conditions, FAF = final approach fix, EMB-145 is the type designator for the Embraer 145 regional jet. $\endgroup$ – casey May 19 '14 at 1:10
  • $\begingroup$ In my airplane, dropping the gear at Vle at the FAF will give a nice fast stabilized approach $\endgroup$ – rbp Feb 1 '15 at 12:58
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In light general aviation aircraft, you lower the gear when abeam the touchdown point on downwind, then double-check that the gear is down on final (and possibly on base, as well).

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    $\begingroup$ On light general aircraft, the gear is down and welded. The number of retracts in service is less than 5% of the fleet, and gear deployment techniques vary $\endgroup$ – rbp Feb 1 '15 at 12:55
  • $\begingroup$ That’s what I do as well. Gear, first notch of flaps, and reduce power together so you don’t climb or descend a bit when deploying them. Then slow the airplane and begin a 500' per minute descent to landing. $\endgroup$ – JScarry Aug 3 at 13:23
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It should normally be dropped about 500ft - 1000ft and below the aircraft's maximum speed for dropping the landing gear so you don't damage it. If you need more drag to slow down quicker you can drop it a bit higher up.

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