If you do a Google or Bing search for "Aircraft Pilot Seat" then choose images, you might notice a large number, perhaps majority of them, have a notch cut out of the front of the seat. What is this notch for?

Notches are circled here:

Notches pointed out in 737-800 cockpit
Original Source

(Please, no potty humor or scatological jokers need apply here)

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Ejection handle... $\endgroup$
    – user3309
    Commented Feb 6, 2015 at 1:26

3 Answers 3


It's either for clearance of the column of the yoke or moving the crotch strap of the harness closer to the body of the pilot.

Alternative yoke designs remove the need for the notch:

Twin otter cockpit
(source: airliners.net)

Alternative control methods like the Airbus sidestick also remove the need. As Henning Makholm noted, the seat strap just goes through the cushion.

Airbus cockpit

  • 6
    $\begingroup$ +1 If you google for pictures of A320/A330/A380 flight decks, which have sidesticks instead of yokes, many of them show clearly the pilot's seats there do not have the notch. Instead the crotch strap is just fastened in the middle of the seat cushion. $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 5, 2015 at 18:31

It's for the control column when it is moved fully aft.


Picture 1

If you only needed a crotch strap, it can be installed mid-seat.


Pilot seats have a five point harness with a crutch strap. The strap needs to be snug to provide any value in a sudden stop, hence the 'notch' to bring it as close to the body as possible.


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