The latest generation of iPad Pro models from Apple are some of the most powerful tablets ever made, with desktop-class performance and vibrant screens. In fact, for pilots willing to spend a little more, we think the iPad Pro 11″ is the best overall tablet for aviation. However, the gorgeous screens come with one minor footnote: their edge-to-edge design means not all kneeboards work well with them.
First, a quick review of the various models. Since there are now so many different iPad options, it’s easy to get confused. Here are the models that use the iPad Pro branding:
- iPad Pro 12.9″ 3rd generation – nearly edge-to-edge screen with no home button
- iPad Pro 12.9″ 1st and 2nd generation – older style with larger bezel and a home button
- iPad Pro 11″ – nearly edge-to-edge screen with no home button
- iPad Pro 10.5″ – older style with larger bezel and a home button
- iPad Pro 9.7″ – older style with larger bezel and a home button
Most kneeboards use some type of clip or elastic band to hold the tablet securely. These do a good job of holding an iPad in place during turbulence and also have the benefit of being fairly universal, but they do inevitably cover part of the screen. With the first and third options above (the latest generation iPad Pros), this becomes an issue because there is very little bezel around the screen. In the case of ForeFlight, for example, a large clip or band will cover a few of the buttons at the top right corner and make it hard to use the search box.
That doesn’t mean iPad Pro pilots are completely out of luck. We’ve flown with three options that work. Each addresses the problem in a slightly different way.
Flight Outfitters. The latest version of this popular kneeboard has plastic sleeves to reduce the size of the elastic bands. These still cover part of the screen, but less than before and they’re easier to move. It’s perfect for older models and the iPad Mini; it works with the iPad Pro models as well, although you’ll notice some minor screen interference. It’s a good option for pilots who want the ability to rotate the iPad and still have some storage pockets. At $69.95, it’s fairly priced too.
MyGoFlight. The Folio C Kneeboard uses plastic clips to hold the iPad in place, so while the iPad screen is not completely uncovered, very little is actually obscured. The clips are attached to elastic straps, so they can stretch to reach different size iPads, including iPad Pro 10.5″ and iPad Pro 11″, plus there’s a 12.9″ version. The Folio C is not inexpensive at $154, but it features a magnetic clipboard and nice leather construction. It’s a reasonable everyday carrying case when you’re not flying.
MyClip. For pilots who don’t need storage pockets or other organization features, this simple iPad holder is hard to beat. There are two molded plastic clips that firmly grab the iPad, but the soft coating prevents scratches. The sturdy elastic strap holds the iPad on your leg, and has adjustment points for accommodating all iPad sizes, from Mini to Pro. In fact, any tablet from 3-12 inches wide and up to 0.45″ thick will fit.