In the case of Boeings, I understand that the thrust reversers cannot be activated unless the landing gear is extended.

However, would it still be possible to activate the thrust reversers if the landing gear cannot be extended due to a technical malfunction, and the aircraft has to belly land? Would it be helpful to activate thrust reversal in this scenario?

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ No, not helpful. Before touchdown you want a shallow approach, and after touchdown the braking will take care of itself. No need for thrust reversers. $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 4, 2018 at 18:31

1 Answer 1


enter image description here (Source) LOT Polish Airlines Flight 16

All Boeings, minus the 717 and 727, have wing-mounted engines. A belly landing will already damage the engines and potentially rupture fuel or hydraulic lines, so no. Some reverser types employ target doors, which require clearance to the ground.

In case of tail-mounted engines, the answer will depend on the flight manual and the extent of the gear extension failure (partial, all, main, nose).

An MD-80 manual notes:

IF Nose Gear Unsafe, Both Main Gear Extended:

Idle reverse thrust may be used with caution for deceleration.

  • $\begingroup$ Why do the DC-9-80's thrust reversers require that the main gear be extended, when the engines are still high above the ground even if all three gear are retracted? $\endgroup$
    – Vikki
    Commented Jan 21, 2019 at 4:44

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