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Why All Pilots Need A GUMPS Check

The pilot flying this Piper Aerostar landed without putting his gear down. You might be thinking "how could this happen?", but without the right checklist usage, it can actually happen very easily.

Unfamiliar airports and distractions can lead you to missing major checklist items. But this all could've been avoided by using a GUMPS check prior to landing:

G: Gas

Switch the fuel lever to "both" or the fullest tank.

Steve Wilson

U: Undercarriage

Lower the gear, and check landing gear indicators to make sure they're down and locked.

Armchair Aviator

M: Mixture

Add a full rich mixture prior to landing.


P: Propeller(s)

If your airplane has a variable-pitch propeller and a propeller control, turn the prop to a high RPM setting.

Jason Pineau

S: Switches And Seat Belts

Fasten your seat belt and make sure you've switched necessary equipment to the "on" position. Depending on your aircraft, you might be turning on auxiliary fuel pumps, landing lights, etc.

Swayne Martin

Don't forget that the GUMPS checklist varies with manufacturer, make, and model. For instance, if you're flying a plane with carbureted engines, you might run a "C-GUMPS" or "Charlie-GUMPS" check which includes a "C" that stands for carburetor heat. Another common check is "BC-GUMPS," with the extra "B" signaling that the boost pump needs to be turned on.

Use your GUMPS check as you prepare for landing; the 45 degree entry, or downwind leg of your pattern is a great time for it.

Haley Howard

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Swayne Martin

Swayne is an editor at Boldmethod, certified flight instructor, and an Embraer 145 First Officer for a regional airline. He graduated as an aviation major from the University of North Dakota in 2018, holds a PIC Type Rating for Cessna Citation Jets (CE-525), and is a former pilot for Mokulele Airlines. He's the author of articles, quizzes and lists on Boldmethod every week. You can reach Swayne at, and follow his flying adventures on his YouTube Channel.

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