"What should I be focused on during takeoff roll (in light wind conditions) to ensure a smooth and safe departure? I tend to get lazy when there's no crosswind." - Bob M.
“Well, first of all, we’re going to use that centerline on the runway. That’s not just three feet to the left or three feet to the right. If we go out there and get that nose wheel right on the centerline and do our best to keep it there all the time, that will soon become a habit.
If you watch the corporate pilots and the airline pilots as they land and taxi, you’re going to find those nose wheels are right on the centerline. And it seems to me if it’s good enough for them, that’s where we want to be also.
We also want to be sure that we have our heels on the floor not up on the brakes. If we’re dragging those brakes on takeoff we’re not helping our performance at all, and we’re heating up the brakes unnecessarily.
During the takeoff roll, there’s really no need to hold the yoke forward to keep pressure on that nose wheel. If you can just let it ride neutral you’re going to smooth out some of the bumps on the runway and we’re going to reduce stress on the nose gear. And of course, we’re going to do what our Pilot Operating Handbook tells us. If it suggests something else we’ll follow that.
Now, as we begin to smoothly raise the nose for liftoff, one of those left turning tendencies starts to pull us over to the left. That’s the P factor. If you’re a good airman, you’ll recognize this is going to happen, and you’ll add just a little bit of right rudder as the nose comes up so that you can stay exactly on the centerline. And having thought this through before takeoff, it won’t be a surprise to us when it happens.”