I know kneeboards are listed on items we need to purchase, but are they specifically required or we can use any type of mount we choose?
Do you recommend RAM or yoke mounts over kneeboards? Some planes have sidesticks instead of yokes, so I imagine a yoke mount won’t last for as long as you need iPad mounts.
Are there any kneeboards that include a clipboard or do you all bring a separate clipboard and use a simple kneeboard like the myclip?
iPads are great and do some amazing things but you’ll still need to write down clearances, holding instructions and the occasional quick atis hence the need for the kneeboard (unless you guys take notes on them too which I know you can, but seems like a pain, so maybe I’m out of date?). No you will not need your iPad at the Regionals as whichever airline you fly for will supply you with their platform (including mount) and no it won’t be on the yolk.
Many kneeboards have clips. Google is a wonderful tool.
The kneeboard will be holding the iPad, so are you using the ipad screen like a table and putting paper on top of it and writing on that or do you have a separate clipboard that you will set on top of the iPad and write what you need to write and then stow it?
If I am going to have a separate clipboard, I will just get the simple clip kneeboard for my iPad. But if you guys recommend getting one of those kneeboards with a built in clipboard that kind of folds over the iPad I will get that.
If you decide to go with an iPad kneeboard with a clipboard, do some good research to find what features you like and do not like in the various offerings. Since you asked about kneeboards, be prepared for a long post on what kneeboard I chose. Ha-ha
For me, I like the MyGoFlight iPad Folio C kneeboard (be sure to look at the one for the iPad size range you plan to get as they offer one that fits the iPad mini, one for the 9.7” or iPad Pro 10.5”, and one for the iPad Pro 12.9”). I had one for my iPad mini, and now one for my larger iPad since I liked the design and features from my other one. MyGoFlight sells an iPad Folio kneeboard and an iPad Folio C kneeboard. The “C” in the product name stands for Clipboard since the Folio C will come with one if you buy that version. The Folio is the iPad kneeboard without the clipboard, and therefore the omitted “C” in the product title and/or description.
The primary reasons I like the MyGoFlight Folio C kneeboard include:
- The iPad can be rotated from portrait to landscape without having to take it out of its holders.
- Allows use of the iPad on either knee.
- It folds open to allow the clipboard to magnetically cling to either the front or the back of the top/cover.
- It acts as a nice case to protect it a bit.
- Can still be used rather nicely for non-flying tasks too.
Having things magnetically close or cling on the kneeboard is something I find of value. If a person needs to close the case, say after a flight, it’s as simple as taking the clipboard from the inside (if you had it configured that way) and just attach it magnetically to the outside/top-cover so it doesn’t close onto the iPad. You can also simply stow the clipboard elsewhere in your flightbag when you’re done. The the kneeboard folds/closes with magnetic tabs as well.
A few examples of using this kneeboard in different configurations would be:
- Open with the iPad in view and legstrap on the left knee and top open to the right with the clipboard on the inside for writing.
- Open with the iPad in view and legstrap on the right knee and the top open to the left with the clipboard on the inside it for writing.
- Open with the iPad in view and legstrap on the right knee but now with the top hanging to the right off the leg into the center of both front seats (if you’re seated on the left) with the clipboard attached to the outside (so the clipboard doesn’t close onto the iPad). When writing is needed, you can fold the top onto the iPad, write on the clipboard side and when done you can open it again to have it between the seats. With this method, space can be an issue, as well as what size kneeboard you choose, so may not work well in smaller aircraft.
I recommend getting two (one for each top side of the clipboard) pencil/pen holder accessories that they sell that can magnetically attach (or place 3M tape to the bottom of the holder) to the clipboard or you can find the same type of style holders from other retailers that are either magnetic or have 3M tape on the bottom. I preferred using the tape to affix my pen/pencil holders to the clipboard so I could place it where I wanted instead of the magnetic attachment forcing the holder to go wherever it receives best magnetic hold on the clipboard. The pencil/pen holder is great as it has an expandable ring that grasps onto the pen or pencil easily and effectively. I still prefer paper on a clipboard versus using a stylus or Apple Pencil for notes. However, some are using the premade templates in Foreflight for things like ATIS or IFR clearances that appear to make it quick and simple to write with a stylus or Apple Pencil. I’ll have to try the digital method more often to get used it to, although I would still likely have a pen/pencil and paper with me on a clipboard.
Some potential downsides of the product may include:
- The Price. It’s not inexpensive for an iPad kneeboard. Thankfully, I do find it to be made of good quality materials though, so that helps.
- No storage compartments/pockets which some people may want. I use the airplanes pocket or my flightbag within reach.
- Appears to be designed for use without an aftermarket case already on the iPad. The clips would likely not fit over most, if not all aftermarket cases. I wouldn’t want to be taking my iPad in and out of the holder clips due to fear of one or more clips breaking over time. So, I use the kneeboard case as it’s every day case and I don’t take it out. It charges in it, etc.
- It would have been nice if it already came with a pencil/pen holder(s) considering its price range. I’d like to see it redesigned with some elastic loops sewn in to the case on future versions.
- The kneeboard may be a bit on the bulky side for some.
I hope that information helps. As you can see by the massively long book-like post of mine above, I like the MyGoFlight Folio C iPad kneeboard. That’s just my opinion. Ha-ha!
This is one of those things that you will probably need to experiment with to find what works best for you. I went through two kneeboards before I found one that I liked.
I personally do not like anything being mounted on the yoke, but that is just me. every airplane that you will fly at ATP has a yoke.
You will not need your iPad at the regionals, they will supply you with whatever platform they have chosen.
I used a cheap kneeboard for writing down things such as clearances, ATIS etc and then had a Ram Mount suction cup mount that I used to hold the iPad mini. I liked the suction cup mount because it kept the iPad near eye level which made flying IFR approaches a lot easier since I didn’t have to look down to read the charts.
I’ve heard of some students using the yoke mount, but personally I don’t think I would like my iPad attached to my flight controls.
I like the other suggestions that have been made. The Folio C is a great product. I recommend it. There are other products out there that aren’t as expensive. You just have to do some research. The suction cup mounts are good too. They are a tight fit, but if had to do it over again I would have bought one.
Are there any planes without a good spot to RAM mount it? I heard you’re not supposed to stick it to the window because the sun will make it kinda melt to the window. Is that true?
Edit: I was wrong about the melting, this is what I saw online: “Just remember if you go the suction cup route, keep it OFF YOUR WINDSHIELD! The sun will heat the rubber up on the cup and warp your plexiglass windshield.”
Is this true? Does it only hold true for the windshield? Is it okay to mount it to the side window?
Yes, my main dilemma is between the knee board and the suction mount. I have steered away from the yoke mount after all the feedback I’ve been getting from you guys. Personally, I would not enjoy constantly looking down to my lap so I would prefer a suction mount, but I don’t know if every plane has an ideal place to mount it.
I had zero issues putting it in the Archer or Seminole. I put it in the lower left corner of the front windshield. I didn’t fly the Cessna so can’t judge fit in that aircraft. It’s just a suction cup…I put it on when I got to the aircraft and took it with me when I was done. Many other students, including my instructor, had the same mount and none had any issues either.
Here it is mounted in the Archer. Same spot in the Seminole.
If you’re that concerned about it then I would hold off until you have an opportunity to talk to some of the other students and instructors at the training center. Side note, if it is ever determined that those suction cups are causing damage to the windscreen, ATP would immediately prohibit them to be used anywhere in the airplane. No one seemed to mind when I was an instructor, except for the occasional examiner that tried to make the argument that the position of the iPad is obstructing the pilot’s vision.
Honestly, I’ve never owned one so I don’t know. I’ve never witnessed any warping when I was an instructor. If my memory serves me correctly, most students mounted it on the bottom corner of the windscreen. The only thing I’ve noticed is a minimal amount of ring-shaped residue from the suction cups.
Thanks for sharing that, John!
Cody, keep in mind a few things with the RAM suction cup mounts:
They have a max weight loading. I’m going off memory, but I believe RAM stated up to 2 pounds weight limit per suction cup. Between an iPad mini, the suction cup weight, the RAM extension arms, and the X-grip (or whatever RAM compatible iPad holder you choose) for the iPad, chances are you’re close to or possibly over that limit. I would imagine the single suction cup mount is good for only the iPad mini, and I would not want to have the larger standard 9.7” iPad on a single suction cup mount. Now, they do sell dual suction cup mounts, which should provide up to 4 pounds of max. weight and that should suffice for a 9.7” or 10.5” iPad (if that’s what you’re going for). The problem with the dual suction cup mounts is finding room to fit it. One of their dual cup mounts doesn’t not pivot at the cups for curved surfaces like a windshield, and another dual cup mount that RAM sells does pivot, but it’s bulkier and even more challenging to find room for. You may want to either wait to purchase a mount of some sort until beginning the program or ask your ATP location if you can see what would work in the planes you’ll be flying.
A suction cup mount for an iPad mini is great for these small cockpits and allows easier and quick visual glance at information. However, if you have a larger iPad than the mini, it may be more challenging to mount it somewhere without obstruction of some instruments on the panel.
Just food for thought.
Awesome, man. Thanks for the picture and I definitely love having it at eye level like that. I’m pretty much sold on the suction mount now. Which mount do you recommend? Did any examiners give you problems? Do you also use a kneeboard for writing stuff down or do you just keep a clipboard loose and grab it when you need it?
Thanks, Tom for the recommendation on the kneeboard and this info for the suction cups. I will definitely keep that in mind when I’m deciding on what to use.
Thanks, Tory. What would happen if the examiner had a problem with it? Would it cause you to fail or he would just force you to keep the iPad in your lap?
My argument to him would be that it seems way more unsafe to have to look into my lap than to be able to look ahead.
I don’t think an examiner can fail an applicant for that. They are bound to the terms of the Airman Certification Standards (ACS). They have a point, but as long as you are within the ACS standards and can see and avoid traffic during VMC, you should be fine.
Okay, that’s a relief. So they might just make a comment, but you just make sure to have it as out of the way as possible and you will be fine?
Regarding what Tom said about the size, I completely agree. I used the iPad Mini 3. Anything larger, and it wouldn’t have fit in that location. The picture angle makes it look higher than it is. I’m tall (6’ 2"), so when I’m looking out the front windshield the top of the iPad lines up with the top of the instrument panel (and it’s off to the side) so I didn’t have any issues with it covering any instruments or my field of view. I found my order from Sporty’s back in 2015 and I got the “Ram 7” Tablet X-Grip Suction Cup Mount". It never fell during flight and was solid. My DPE never asked about the mount. I also used a cheap aluminum kneeboard with a pad of paper for writing down clearances, ATIS, etc. I never liked writing things on the iPad with my finger. During my Seminole training, I actually used two kneeboards. The left one held the Seminole checklist book that had the checklists (it’s spiral bound). The right one was the pad of paper. Made it easier, for me at least, to have my checklists and still be able to write down things. Was just my preference and the DPE never second guessed that either. The key is to use what you are comfortable with