Yesterday I was relaxing in a park near my home while listening to my air band receiver and watching airliners as they were turning from left base to final for Toronto Intl's rwy 24R.
I was there for hours, and as 6:00 pm & the busy hub time approached, ATC had the airliners flying farther outbound on their downwind legs before being turned onto base ..... as usual. They were flying their base leg dirrectly above me at 15 nm DME from 24R's threshold. Most of these airliners were maintaining 170 knots through their base leg & final approach untill reaching the outer marker.
Then, at 6:15pm I spotted a Northwest Airlines A319 (flt 1830 from Detroit) on base leg with it's gear already extended! This caught my attention because I have never seen an airliner with it's gear down while this far out on base leg in the past 7 years that I've lived here. Airliners usually extend their gear while on final & around 8 nm DME from the rwy.
My question is ..... What's the most likely reason why the pilots of this A319 had their gear down so early? Do you think they might have been having problems with their hydraulics & decided to put the gear down while they could?