Before taxiing onto the runway or takeoff area, the pilot should ensure that the engine is operating properly and that all controls, including flaps and trim tabs, are set for takeoff. In addition, the pilot must make certain that the takeoff path will be clear of other aircraft, vehicles, persons, or livestock, and that there will be adequate time to execute the takeoff before any aircraft in the traffic pattern turns onto the final approach. It is inadvisable to start a takeoff immediately behind another aircraft, particularly large, heavily loaded transport airplanes, because of the wake turbulence they create.
While taxiing onto the runway, the pilot can select ground reference points that are aligned with the runway direction as aids to maintaining directional control during the takeoff. These may be distant trees, towers, buildings, mountain peaks, or the markings or lights along the runway.