Every pilot should secure their iPad in the cockpit, for both convenience and safety. The most popular ways to do this involve either a mount or a kneeboard, and it usually ends up being a bit of a “Coke or Pepsi” debate. Some pilots just love iPad mounts, while others hate them and prefer kneeboards. There’s not really a right answer for everyone; it depends on the pilot and the airplane.
We’ve covered some of the most popular mounting solutions before, from basic RAM Mounts, to the versatile PIVOT case and deluxe options from MyGoFlight. In this article, we’ll review some of the most popular iPad kneeboard options, so you can make an informed decision if you’re not a mount person. There are more options than ever, and most of them are quite good.
iPad Rotating Kneeboard. These kneeboards win hands down for simplicity and value. The basic version offers nothing more than a way to secure the iPad to the pilot’s leg. It’s not fancy, but it works well, and allows you to switch between portrait and landscape orientations quickly. The elastic leg strap is comfortable and adjustable.
This will work with iPad Air 1, Air 2, 9.7″ Pro and iPad Mini. At just $19, it’s an unbeatable value – probably worth owning for backup if nothing else.
Flight Gear HP iPad Kneeboard. This all new bi-fold design opens up to reveal an iPad mount on the left side and storage pockets on the right. In typical use, the right flap will hang down on the side of your leg, with two pockets accessible. These are a great place to store your cell phone, screen cleaners or charging cables. There’s also an elastic strap for a stylus or pen, plus a zippered pocket.
The Flight Gear HP iPad kneeboard is available for iPad Air 1, Air 2, 9.7″ Pro and iPad Mini. Again, at only $35, it’s by far the best value in bi-fold iPad kneeboards you can buy.
Flight Outfitters iPad Kneeboard. The kneeboard has a simple but well thought out design, with the iPad sitting in the middle, held steady by four plastic clips. These clips are attached to elastic arms, so they accommodate iPads with and without cases – although very thick cases like the Otterbox won’t fit. The iPad section can swivel, so it rotates from landscape to portrait with one hand. It’s firm enough to stay in place, but it doesn’t require latches or buttons. There are two mesh pockets for storing essential iPad accessories like a charging cord or a cigarette lighter charter. But the feature we like the most is the flip-down area on the right side of the iPad. It can function as a storage pocket, but we think it’s even better as a shelf.
The Flight Outfitters iPad kneeboard is compatible with iPad Air 1, Air 2, 9.7″ Pro ($69.95) and iPad Mini ($59.95).
MyClip. This simple but elegant kneeboard has been around for a while, and we still like it. It’s the smallest kneeboard we’ve seen, so if you’re flying in a tight cockpit, it’s an excellent choice. It’s also very adaptable, fitting both the iPad Air and Mini, with or without a case. If you like to leave your protective case on, this is easily the best option. Just pull the rubber gripping surfaces apart, position the iPad and release – the elastic straps hold the kneeboard in place and prevent your iPad from moving around. It’s well-made and durable, and it takes up virtually zero space in your flight bag. The only downside is that it offers no storage or protection for your iPad. The MyClip is available for $34.95.
iPro. Some pilots aren’t comfortable going completely paperless, so they like to have a hard writing surface and a clipboard for charts or checklists. For these halfway pilots, the iPro kneeboard is a good option. This features a hard exterior case to protect your iPad, and a unique flip-over writing desk. This makes it easy to go from paper to iPad in just a second, and it doesn’t take up a lot of space in the cockpit. It is a little heavier and more expensive, but it’s very well built. The iPro for iPad Mini 1-3 and the iPro for iPad Mini 4 are both available for $79.95; the iPro for iPad Air and Pro 9.7″ is available for $79.95 as well.
MyGoFlight. For a premium option, MyGoFlight offers two styles of kneeboards for iPad pilots. First, the Folio C includes both a custom iPad mount and a metal writing surface. The writing desk attaches with magnets, so it’s easy to attach it to the front (so it works much like the iPro, with a flip-over desk) or it can be attached to the left panel of the bi-fold kneeboard when open. The Folio C includes a leg strap and closes up neatly for a professional look outside the cockpit.
The MyGoFlight Folio C Kneeboard for iPad Mini is available for $124.00 and the MyGoFlight Folio C Kneeboard for iPad Air and 9.7″ Pro and is available for $129.00. There is also an option available for the 12.9″ iPad Pro for $149.95. These kneeboards aren’t cheap, but they are well made and good-looking.
The second option from MyGoFlight, called the iPad Sport kneeboard, is more of a minimalist design. Constructed of black, smooth polycarbonate, the Sport adds protection and great feel to the iPad. Ideal for aircraft where space is tight or where there is a cyclic or control stick being used between the legs. This kneeboard is also designed to work with the Sport Adapter found on MyGoFlight’s yoke and suction cup mounts, making it great for pilots wanting both a kneeboard and mounting solution.
The iPad Sport kneeboard for iPad mini is available or $89, while the slightly larger model for iPad Air 1, Air 2 and 9.7″ Pro sells for $99.
ASA Kneeboards These kneeboards are covered with soft, leather-like material and feature a wide leg strap to hold the kneeboard in place during flight. A holding clip on front provides a place to secure a note pad, or other paper documents you might need to reference. Inside, the kneeboard is covered with a soft microfiber to protect your iPad. The built-in adjustable easel provides tilted viewing angle. The power port is accessible with the cover closed and a back cover window exposes the camera lens for easy picture taking. ASA’s iPad kneeboard is a good value at $54.95.
X-Naut Cooling Kneeboard. This ingenious mounting system features built-in fans to circulate cool air, specifically targeted at the iPad’s main hot spots to prevent it from overheating. In addition to working the RAM mount system, you can also turn it into a kneeboard with this accessory kit – perfect for cockpits with a bubble canopy where the iPad is exposed to direct sunlight.
You can shop the complete iPad Kneeboard selection here. Do you have a favorite?