Where should I mount my iPad in the cockpit?
Using the iPad as an EFB to display digital charts comes with many advantages: the annual subscription to most chart apps is less expensive than paper subscriptions, updates are ridiculously easy, you don’t need a flashlight to see them at night and you can access any chart for the U.S. with just a few taps. The key to making the iPad useful as an EFB though is proper securing and mounting in the cockpit. Unlike a folded sectional, the iPad won’t stay put for long when in turbulence if it’s resting on your lap. Here are our favorite ways to secure the iPad in the airplane.
This is by far the easiest option and makes use of your lap to keep the iPad secure and easily accessible. Sporty’s has been designing kneeboards for pilots since the 1960s, and the latest generation are created just for iPads. Plus many of the kneeboards serve as a great everyday protective case for your iPad. Here are a few options:
- Simple -> The Slimline iPad Kneeboard uses a compact design to secure the iPad to your leg, and works great in small cockpits. Plus, its built-in swiveling mechanism allows you to view your tablet in either landscape or portrait mode.
- Bi-Fold Kneeboard -> Based on the classic folding kneeboard design, the Sporty’s iPad Kneeboard is enhanced with the ability to adjust the iPad to multiple viewing angles. This is useful in minimizing screen glare. Another option here is the iPro Aviator Kneeboard, which uses a more rigid design.
- Deluxe -> This new leather case of the Deluxe Leather iPad Kneeboard is specifically designed for the cockpit, but is also stylish enough for everyday use. Your iPad will stay securely attached to your leg, and the rotating mechanism makes it easy to switch between landscape and portrait views.
For those who like to keep their lap obstruction-free while flying, the Ram iPad Suction Mount provides great flexibility to secure the iPad in several different positions to the inside of your windshield. We’ve tested numerous suction mount systems, and have found the models from Ram to be the best. They use a strong injection-molded iPad cradle that securely holds the iPad (works with all 3 models), a strong suction mount and a double socket connecting arm that allows for easy rotation and angling of the iPad.
We’ve found this mount works very well if you attach it to the inside of the windshield in front of the co-pilot’s seat and let it hang a bit over the glare shield. If you want to keep the view open out the front for the person in the right seat, it also fits well in the left corner of the windshield in larger aircraft. And don’t worry, the suction seal is very tight and won’t fall down in flight.
Another option for mounting the iPad in the cockpit is to use the Ram iPad Yoke Mount. This uses the same iPad cradle as the suction mount, but includes a different clamping base to firmly secure it to the shaft at the rear of the yoke. This mount works very well with high-wing Cessna and Piper aircraft, and does not affect aircraft control on the yoke.
If you find the iPad is in the way, try two slightly different positions. First, try attaching the yoke upside down, so the connecting arm goes under the yoke instead of above it. This will lower the iPad slightly and may block fewer instruments. Secondly, you can mount the iPad to the co-pilot yoke and angle the iPad towards the pilot. This keeps it completely out of the way.
A different type of yoke mount is available for Beech aircraft. This iPad Beech Yoke Mount includes a larger adjustable clamp that fits around the larger control shaft found on these aircraft.
Ram Mount iPad Cradle options
Both the suction mount and yoke mount include the standard Ram iPad cradle, which is form fitted to securely hold all models of the iPad in place. The drawback here is that you’ll have to remove any protective cases or covers before using the cradle. To make things easier, Ram offers another version of the cradle that allows more flexibility, securing an iPad/case with an adjustable spring-loaded grip. This also works well if you want to mount an Android or other smaller 7″ tablet in the cockpit. Check out the various options here.
What’s best for my airplane?
The biggest factor in mounting your iPad comes down to personal preference and type of airplane. Here’s a quick breakdown of what we recommend based on aircraft type:
- Cessna high-wing (C152, C172, C182, etc.) – Suction, Yoke or Kneeboard
- Cirrus – Suction or Kneeboard
- Cessna Corvalis/400 – Suction or Kneeboard
- Beech – Beech Yoke Mount or Kneeboard
- Piper – Suction, Yoke or Kneeboard
- Small/Mid-Size Jets – Kneeboard
We’d love to hear other ideas for iPad mounting. What works best for you?
When I fly my helicopter Robinson R44 the yoke touches the I pad on my knee board and it could be very dangerous while landing.What do you advice for Robinson helicopters?
The only option I’ve found that works is a suction cup on the side window. All kneeboards get in the way.
I have a concern about suction cups and I guess you know what it is. the iPad is somewhat heavy, do you really trust the cup? Which one do you have.
Not being critical, I’d really like to mount my iPad to the side window for the reason you suggest.
It’s a valid concern, but my experience with it has been good. The Ram Mounts are great, and the suction cup holds firm. Just tighten it down as much as you can.
Sorry to disturbe as it seems the RAM suction cup is the holly grail. In fact I start to hate it and seriously looking for another way to accomodate the iPad in the Robinson R44. Facts are that the suction cup fell off twice, and of course both times during a critical time of the flight where you really don’t want to mess around with an iPad and the whole RAM cradle into your legs. I had the same fear as many before chosing the suction cup solution, so took great care to place it on a clean surface, like recommended. Unfortunately, who knows if it’s the difference of temperature when the sun hits the windshield or pressure when in altitude or vibrations or a combination of all three, but the result is: not reliable mount for me. Sorry
The mount I’ve ended up liking in my C-172M is suction cup, iPad vertical immediately to the right of the magnetic compass, easy to look around, not obstructing the passenger, yet heads-up close to forward vision.
Does the Ipad’s battery disturb the magnetic compass?
Not in my experience. It has to be very close to the compass to affect it.
I’m way scared to mount my iPad in the car. Esp. a suction mount. I did look at some mounting systems but still haven’t found the right one.
In my Mooney (M20E) I prefer a kneepad. Not a lot of excess room in the cockpit 😉
I’m a kneepad pilot anyway and the iPad has been the perfect replacement to my trusty ASA kneeboard.
Has anyone tried the seat rail mount in a Cessna 182?
They look interesting, but not sure if they are any good.
I have the seat rail mount for use in my 172. The rod that comes with it is probably too long, as the ipad gets in the way of throttle, mixture, etc. From e-mounts.com, I got a shorter rod, 9″, and that works better. Actually, I mount my ipad(s), on a yoke mount and have my Lowrance 2000C on the seat rail mount.
I have the seat rail mount in my 182 and don’t have trouble with it getting in the way of the controls. It took a little time on the ground getting the mount positioned just right on the seat rails, but after the initial setup it has not been a problem. I’m not a kneeboard person, and felt like the yoke mount blocked too much of the panel, so this was a perfect solution for me!
I use the seat rail mount for my Lowrance 2000c AND a Zaon MRX and it works great in my 172. I use a lap mount for My iPad and the combination works well. The RAM suction mount is very robust and I use it for a drink holder and it easily holds a soda can in turbulence.
So for use in a Light Sport with Stratus what do you recommend? The suction cup mount is inviting but do you have a specific recommendation for a specific LSA?
There’s a great guide I found: http://www.imount.com.au/pages/imount-capatibility-guide
I am wondering if my Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 can fit in the Sporty’s iPad kneeboard?
Did you ever find out if the Ipad kneeboards work for the Galaxy Tab 10.1? I have the same tablet and would love to know.
With direct sunlight, the iPad may overheat and shut down for 10 minutes, so keep it out of direct sun best you can. Any cover seems to work. I do not mount mine however, but leave it in seat or on floor. And a non-skid adhesive pad will keep it from sliding around. Carpet/rug anti-skid tape works great and is cheap to buy/replace. The rubber adhesive pad that Sportys sells is my fav, and can be cut to fit, etc. if needed. I do not like any of the cases or non-glare screen covers, personally, either. And it packs better in a smaller bag if you do not have any covers attached. I keep my flight bag on floor between my legs, for quik access.
I just ordered what I believe to be the best mounting system out there; the Deohako. I bought a case for my ipad “mini’and a yoke mount. The mount appears to be more substantial than the Ram mount. The seller guarantees it won’t come off in flight.
Does anyone have any reccomendations for operating the ipad in a cold cockpit other than the Isotoner gloves I just read about?
Can the suction cup be used on continuously heated windows in a mid-size commercial jet airliner? Does anyone have any experience with this, or has anyone had problems with the plastic melting onto the windshield?
Chelsea, I would not recommend using a suction mount on a jet’s heated window, fearing damage to both the mount and possibly the window itself. Kneeboards seem to be the best solution for larger jets that do not have other mounting options.
If you have a Single engine Cessna check here ipadyokemounts.com
Does anyone have a suggestion where or how to mount an iPad 3 in a Cessna 172S. This plane has the G1000 panel.
I have been mounting my iPad 3 suction cup to the windscreen just to the right of the mag compass. Works fine. The downside is that I have to look up to see it and it partly blocks the passenger view. So I am about to install the iPad-mini to the yoke .. better sight line and less obtrusive.
I used to do that & it worked fine, with the downside you mention. THEN I got the iPad-mini & yoke mount … Much better SIGHT-LINE … so I can go “under the hood” & have a very satisfactory sight-line with the 6-pack.
Check out my yolk ipad mounts at http://www.tablettoolsllc.com
They are the best on the market
anyone has any recommendation for DA42?
I’ve flown C172 NavIII with ipad mini for a year, and I’m now flying DA42. When I flow C172, I just simply placed ipad mini on my lap with a normal case which I bought from Amazon.
Now I’m thinking about kneeboards or suction mounts.
Anyone tried them on DA42?
Been flying a C-172 for a few months now with the iPad-mini on a yoke mount, with the unit just in front of the yoke. Works like a charm. I like it that the sight-line for my WingX is just below the 6-pack.