After entering the airplane, the pilot should first ensure that all necessary equipment, documents, checklists, and navigation charts appropriate for the flight are on board. If a portable intercom, headsets, or a hand-held global positioning system (GPS) is used, the pilot is responsible for ensuring that the routing of wires and cables does not interfere with the motion or the operation of any control.
Regardless of what materials are to be used, they should be neatly arranged and organized in a manner that makes them readily available. The cockpit and cabin should be checked for articles that might be tossed about if turbulence is encountered. Loose items should be properly secured. All pilots should form the habit of good housekeeping.
The pilot must be able to see inside and outside references. If the range of motion of an adjustable seat is inadequate, cushions should be used to provide the proper seating position.
When the pilot is comfortably seated, the safety belt and shoulder harness (if installed) should be fastened and adjusted to a comfortably snug fit. The shoulder harness must be worn at least for the takeoff and landing, unless the pilot cannot reach or operate the controls with it fastened. The safety belt must be worn at all times when the pilot is seated at the controls.
If the seats are adjustable, it is important to ensure that the seat is locked in position. Accidents have occurred as the result of seat movement during acceleration or pitch attitude changes during takeoffs or landings. When the seat suddenly moves too close or too far away from the controls, the pilot may be unable to maintain control of the airplane.
14 CFR part 91 requires the pilot to ensure that each person on board is briefed on how to fasten and unfasten his/her safety belt and, if installed, shoulder harness. This should be accomplished before starting the engine, along with a passenger briefing on the proper use of safety equipment and exit information. Airplane manufacturers have printed briefing cards available, similar to those used by airlines, to supplement the pilot’s briefing.