Gear Down on Descent

Date:         30 Mar 98 04:31:07 
From: (AHL NHL)
Organization: AOL
Followups:    1
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I live approximately 25-30 miles from PIT and see jetliners overhead
frequently. What strikes me funny is that they're always in a gear down
position. At what point do crews put the gear down--and why so early?

BTW, said planes are always trimmed up for level flight (apparently) ...with
flaps stowed.