Don't Forget The GUMPS Check: Landing Checklist Every Pilot Must Know (Crucial!)

Don't Forget The GUMPS Check: Landing Checklist Every Pilot Must Know (Crucial!)

Zachary Franklin |

Have You Done The GUMPS Check? Breaking Down the Crucial GUMPS Landing Checklist for Pilots

Navigating an aircraft to a safe landing is an intricate process that requires sharp focus and precision. From the critical approach phase to the delicate touchdown, pilots must attentively manage numerous factors to ensure a successful landing. A key tool enhancing the efficiency of every pilot in this crucial stage of flight is the GUMPS checklist, ensuring each critical system is set for landing.

Join us as we unveil the secrets to navigating an aircraft with unparalleled precision and focus during this critical stage of flight - from uncovering the checklist's intricacies to harnessing its power for safer flights, our article is your ticket to unlocking greater aviation prowess.

Are you ready to fly more confidently and master the key to smoother landings? Read more and learn.

Key Takeaways

  • The GUMPS checklist is an essential tool for pilots to ensure their aircraft is properly configured for a safe landing.
  • In aviation, GUMPS is an acronym used as a memory aid to perform a checklist before landing an aircraft. It stands for Gas, Undercarriage, Mixture, Propeller, Switches and Seatbelts.
  • Performing GUMPS helps prevent distractions and promotes consistency and accuracy in pre-landing procedures.
  • Pilots should make it a habit to run GUMPS before every landing to prioritize safety.

What is the GUMPS Check Checklist?

In aviation, GUMPS emerges as a fundamental memory aid, playing a pivotal role in every pilot's pre-landing routine.

GUMPS, the acronym for Gas, Undercarriage, Mixture, Propeller, Switches and Seatbelts, encapsulates a comprehensive set of critical checks that pilots diligently carry out before embarking on the crucial descent and landing phase. Safeguarding both the aircraft and its occupants, this concise yet powerful checklist ensures that no vital system is overlooked.

Let's dive deeper into each item on the list with a detailed breakdown:


Checking the gas involves confirming that there is enough fuel to safely complete your landing and that the proper tank is selected. Switching fuel tanks might be required depending on aircraft design and flight circumstances. Always be aware of your plane's specifics when managing gas supplies throughout your flight.

Do not forget, a well-planned approach decreases demands of split-second decision-making during unforeseen situations, like an emergency or quick diversion due to weather changes. Ensuring adequate fuel supply certainly resides within necessary checks before landing, as running out of gas mid-air can lead to disastrous outcomes.


The undercarriage, also known as the landing gear, is a vital component of an aircraft's structure. It includes the wheels and associated mechanisms that allow the plane to take off, land, and taxi on the ground.

During GUMPS, it is essential for pilots to verify that their undercarriage is properly configured before landing. This involves ensuring that all gears are down and locked in position to provide stability during touchdown.

Checking the undercarriage helps prevent accidents such as gear-up landings and ensures a safe landing for both you and your passengers.


Check your mixture! This is an essential step in GUMPS before landing - ensuring that the air-fuel mixture in your aircraft's engine is at the correct ratio for optimum performance.

Properly adjusting the mixture improves fuel efficiency, reduces engine wear, and prevents overheating or loss of power during critical phases of flight. So, make it a habit to check and adjust your mixture to ensure a smooth landing every time.


The propeller is a vital component of GUMPS. Ensuring that it is properly set before landing plays a significant role in a safe and successful landing.

By checking the position of the propeller, pilots can make adjustments to optimize engine performance and reduce any potential hazards or malfunctions during the landing phase. This step is particularly important for retractable gear aircraft as it helps prevent gear-up landings.

Before landing, always remember to check and ensure that your propeller is correctly configured for a smooth and secure touchdown.

Switches and Seatbelt

Before landing, it's crucial to check the switches and fasten their seat belts. By verifying that all the switches are in their proper positions, you can avoid any potential malfunctions or errors during this critical phase of flight.

Additionally, by securely fastening your seat belt, you protect yourself from being injured in case of sudden turbulence or an unexpected event during landing. 

Why is the GUMPS Checklist Important?


GUMPS ensures proper configuration for a safe landing, prevents common distractions, and promotes consistency and accuracy in flight procedures.

Ensures proper configuration for a safe landing

By going through each item before landing, you can prevent potential issues and ensure that your aircraft is in the right condition to touch down safely. Following this procedure will give you peace of mind knowing that everything has been checked and confirmed before making your descent.

Prevents common distractions

During the pre-landing phase, there can be many things competing for your attention. By following GUMPS, you can stay focused on what really matters - ensuring that their aircraft is properly configured for a safe landing.

This checklist acts as a mental reminder, allowing you to systematically go through each step without being overwhelmed by distractions in the cockpit or outside factors. With GUMPS, you can stay on track and maintain your focus on landing safely.

Promotes consistency and accuracy

By following this checklist every time you prepare to land, you ensure that all necessary aspects of your aircraft's configuration are properly addressed. This helps to prevent errors and maintain a safe landing environment. By promoting consistency and accuracy through the use of GUMPS, you can enhance your flight safety and minimize the risk of oversight or mistakes during critical moments of piloting.

How Do Pilots Perform the GUMPS Checklist Effectively?

To do GUMPS effectively, you must be mindful of potential distractions and variations in the checklist procedures.

The hazard of distractions

Distractions can be incredibly hazardous during the pre-landing phase of a flight. It's crucial to stay focused on GUMPS and avoid any potential distractions that may arise.

Whether it's passengers talking, equipment malfunctioning, or even outside noise, these distractions can divert your attention away from properly configuring your aircraft for landing.

By staying disciplined and maintaining focus on the checklist, you can ensure that all necessary steps are taken to guarantee a safe landing. Remember, keeping distractions at bay is key to effectively executing GUMPS and promoting aviation safety.

When to run GUMPS

Performing GUMPS is essential before every landing.  Whether you are flying alone or with passengers, in familiar or unfamiliar airports, running GUMPS should become an ingrained habit. By making it part of your pre-landing routine, you can prevent critical errors and distractions, giving yourself peace of mind and promoting flight safety throughout your piloting journey.

GUMPS Variations


There are a few variations of landing checklists that you can use depending on your aircraft and personal preference. Some prefer to add additional steps like the ones listed below:

  • Flaps: Verifying flap settings for the appropriate approach and landing configuration in high-performance aircraft.
  • Lights: Activating all required external and cockpit lighting for enhanced visibility during night or low-visibility landings.
  • Speed Brakes: Confirming speed brakes or spoilers are disarmed for landing, as required in specific flight training programs or regulations.
  • Terrain Clearance: Reminding pilots to maintain sufficient altitude and avoid obstacles during descent, especially in mountainous or challenging approach areas.
  • Emergency Locator Transmitter (ELT): Ensuring the ELT is armed for potential activation in case of emergency landings or situations requiring search and rescue.

Pilots must routinely practice these variations during training to establish muscle memory and ensure the GUMPS checklist becomes a natural part of their cockpit routine. Others may have variations based on their flight training or specific regulations from their governing aviation authority. It's important to find a GUMPS variation that works best for you and ensures that all critical elements are properly checked before landing.

GUMPS: Your Critical Safety Assurance for Every Landing. 

Let GUMPS be your guiding star as a pilot, ensuring your aircraft is optimally configured for safe landings. Combat common distractions and elevate your flying procedures by faithfully running GUMPS on every approach, irrespective of your aircraft type. Make safety a non-negotiable priority in your cockpit as you embrace the consistency and accuracy that GUMPS brings to your aviation journey. 

GUMPS is the guardian of your safety, and a symbol of excellence in your piloting endeavors. Best of of luck on your journey to the skies!


Q: What is the GUMPS checklist?

A: GUMPS IS a mnemonic device used by pilots to remember important steps before landing, which stands for Gas, Undercarriage, Mixture, Propeller, and Seatbelts.

Q: Why is GUMPS important?

A: GUMPS ensures that crucial safety and operational checks are completed before landing, reducing the risk of accidents or equipment malfunctions.

Q: How does GUMPS help improve pilot performance?

A: By following GUMPS, pilots can verify that their aircraft's engine settings are correct, landing gear is down and locked, propeller pitch is suitable for descent and approach speed, and passengers are securely fastened in their seats.

Q: Can using GUMPS prevent emergencies during flight?

A: While it cannot guarantee prevention of all emergencies during flight, following GUMPS helps minimize risks by ensuring critical systems are checked before landing and reducing potential errors or oversights.

Q: Are there variations of GUMPS?

A: Yes, there can be variations of GUMPS. One example is the addition of a "FUEL PUMP" variation, where pilots verify the fuel pump is activated for proper fuel flow during landing, particularly in aircraft with engine-driven fuel pumps. These variations allow pilots to customize their pre-landing checks to suit the specific characteristics and equipment of their aircraft, ensuring a comprehensive approach to safety and efficiency. 


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