You are here:

Aviation/Flying/Retractable mechanism for Landing gear in airplanes.


Dear Jeff

Are the Landing gears always retractable in all airplanes ?.


Once the airplanes takes off, the front and rear wheels are always
folded ?.
Once the airplanes wants to Land, the front and rear wheels are unfolded ?.

What are the Pros and Cons with and without having these retractable mechanism for Landing gears in airplanes ?.

Thanks & Regards,
Prashant S Akerkar

Nearly all larger airplanes have retractable landing gear, but many smaller craft, especially single-engine airplanes, have a fixed landing gear.  There is really only one advantage to retractable landing gear, but it's a big one: airplanes can fly much faster with the gear retracted.  The landing gear creates a great deal of aerodynamic drag, and folding it up inside the airplane lessens the drag considerably, and thus improves the cruising speed.  The biggest disadvantage is safety; the pilot can forget to lower the landing gear and land "wheels up," which never has good results, or the gear can malfunction and not come down when it is needed.  Most retractable airplanes have a system to lower the gear automatically if the speed slows to a certain level, but these systems are prone to malfunction.  Also, they have a manual override so the pilot can lower the gear himself if the electric or hydraulic system fails, but that doesn't work 100% of the time, and of course it doesn't help if the pilot forgets to lower the gear.  The retractable gear also makes the airplane heavier, so it requires a greater distance to take off and land.  It adds to the maintenance cost and the initial purchase cost of the airplane, and also costs more to insure, because of the possibility of landing with the wheels up.  Finally, it adds to the complexity of the pilot's duties, and requires a greater amount of training than flying with a fixed gear.


All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Jeff Davis


I can answer questions about general aviation, learning to fly, how to get started, and how to buy an airplane. Area of specialty is aerobatic flying. I do not have any expertise in flight training opportunities for students outside the USA, and I am not qualified to offer advice on becoming an airline pilot.


I am no longer active in aerobatic flying, but was formerly a professional airshow performer and aerobatic flight instructor, with extensive experience in Decathlon and Pitts aircraft and light experience in other types. I also competed in IAC sanctioned competition through the Advanced level.

No longer active, past member of Experimental Aircraft Association, International Aerobatic Club, International Council of Air Shows, and Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association.

World Airshow News

Commercial and instrument rated, certificated flight instructor since 1986

©2016 All rights reserved.