The flow field during the transition of variable pitch fans (VPFs) from nominal operation to reverse thrust mode at typical “Approach Idle” engine power setting and aircraft touchdown speed of 140 knots is described in this work. An integrated airframe-engine-VPF research model that features a future 40,000 lbf geared high bypass ratio engine installed on a twin-engine airframe in landing configuration is used to explore the flow field in a fully transient unsteady Reynolds-averaged Navier–Stokes (URANS) simulation with imposed wall motion. A novel methodology that implements an adaptation of a mesh displacement equation to mimic the fan blade airfoil rotation is developed. The implementation of this method with gradual, small-step deformation along with an automated mesh update routine enables a high quality, near “real-time” simulation of the complete transition. The flow field during transition is characterized by the evolution from full typical forward flow through the engine to the development of massive recirculation regions at the feather pitch setting and finally to development of a reverse flow from the bypass nozzle to the fan passages. In the paper, the transient development of the various flow features through different stations of the engine flow path apropos the fan blade airfoil rotation to reverse thrust mode are discussed in detail. Also, the temporal development of the mass flow ingested through the engine, airframe decelerating force, and distorted flow at the core engine inlet are described. A hitherto unresolved fan power peaking during the middle of the transition and higher power requirement at reverse thrust mode is captured. The effect of fan rotational speed in terms of engine power setting and the aircraft touchdown velocity on the transition flow physics is explored. A comparison of this fully transient approach with discrete steady-state runs for different stagger angle settings is presented. The flow physics during transition to reverse thrust mode as described in this study is critical in understanding the feasibility of using VPF for reverse thrust in future aircraft. The new capability to study the transition in a fully transient simulation can be used as a design development aid to define design and control characteristics of the reverse thrust VPF.