iPad kneeboard buyer’s guide for pilots – 2020 edition

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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.

There are several popular mounting solutions available that will work with just about any airplane, 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.

Best overall: Flight Gear Bi-fold iPad Kneeboard. This new kneeboard is our overall top pick, winning points for its nearly universal design (it even works with iPads in cases) and its good value. Flip it open 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 a place for two pens or a stylus, plus a zippered pocket that we like to use for our backup iPad battery. However, the right flap can be folded underneath for a lower profile setup, and a lot means you can still use the leg strap.

The iPad is securely held by two large, rubber-coated clips that grab the top or sides of the iPad. These clips are then attached to the kneeboard by velcro. That means the clips can be moved to accommodate a huge range of tablets, from Mini to Pro 11″ – with or without a case. There’s also a kickstand so the iPad can be elevated at an angle for the optimal viewing angle or to avoid sun glare. Plus, the iPad can be mounted portrait or landscape on the kneeboard.

The Flight Gear Bi-fold iPad kneeboard is available in two sizes: the smaller fits all iPad minis (1-5) and some other 8″ Android tablets; the larger fits all iPad, iPad Air, and iPad Pro tablets. At $34.95, it’s a great value.

Best for tight cockpits: MyClip Multi. This simple but elegant kneeboard is our favorite for a simple, universal kneeboard. It’s the smallest kneeboard we’ve seen, so if you’re flying in a tight cockpit, it’s an excellent choice—no pockets or clipboards to get in the way. It’s also very adaptable, fitting all iPad sizes, from iPad Mini to iPad Pro 12.9″, with or without a case. If you like to leave your protective case on, this is probably 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 $33.95.

If you like to rotate your iPad: Flight Outfitters iPad Kneeboard. This kneeboard has a simple but well thought out design, with the iPad sitting in the middle, held steady by four elastic straps. These straps are coated with a rubber texture to prevent scratches, and the flexible material accommodates 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 charger. The kneeboard is fully reversible, so you can wear it on either leg. The Flight Outfitters iPad kneeboard is compatible with iPad 9.7″, iPad 10.2″, iPad Pro 10.5″, iPad Air 1/2/3; a smaller model is compatible with the iPad Mini.

If you want a clipboard: MyGoFlight Folio C. For a premium option, MyGoFlight offers the Folio C, which 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 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. If you want a clipboard, this is the best option.

The MyGoFlight Folio C Kneeboard range in price from $154 to $174. MyGoFlight has options for all kinds of devices including the iPad Air 1/2/3, iPad 9.7″, iPad 10.2″, iPad Pro 10.5″, iPad Pro 12.9″, iPad Mini 1-5, and even for your smartphone. These kneeboards aren’t cheap, but they are well made, good-looking and highly-functional.

If you want to prevent overheating: X-Naut. 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. The mount can be powered off of typical alkaline batteries or USB with a power bank or backup battery. We’ve flown with the X-Naut and it works, buying precious hours of use before an overheat situation. 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. The X-Naut is available for the iPad Mini 1-5, the iPad Air 1, 2, 9.7″ Pro, the iPad Pro 10.5″ / 10.2″ / iPad Air 3 (2019), and the iPad Pro 11″.

x-naut-kneeboard

You can shop the complete iPad Kneeboard selection here.

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