Speaking of Kneeboards

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iPad Kneepad IMG_1835

I normally fly with a compact, fabric kneeboard that wraps around my thigh with an elastic Velcro strap. Been using these for years – they cost about $30, and it isn’t a tragedy if you happen to leave one in a pilot lounge or briefing room – or forget you set it on the horizontal stab before taking off. I have used metal kneeboards, molded plastic kneeboards – just about anything you can find in a catalog – but because I usually fly airplanes with sticks that are fairly compact, most are just too big and get in the way.

iPad Kneepad IMG_1837When the iPad began hitting the cockpit with many popular mapping and navigation apps, I started to look for a good way to use my full-sized tablet in the cockpit without it just floating around loose. Walking through the vendor booths at Oshkosh, I saw lots of different options, but they were…pricey. So I was quite happy to receive a demo version of a new no-frills iPad kneeboard from Sporty’s the other day because it compact, flexible – and inexpensive. The Slimline Rotating Kneeboard sells for just under twenty bucks, and comes to fit either a full iPad or a Mini – take your choice when ordering. The consist of a fabric covered flexible substrate, a leg strap (which is attached to a swivel, so you can put it on your leg in either portrait or landscape format – or any angle in-between), and four pieces of elastic in the corners that hold the tablet like a picture in an old-fashioned photo album.

Compact, lightweight, and inexpensive – what’s not to like – especially when it works! We just started flying with them, and so far I am impressed. We’ll pass them (got one in each size) around among pilots here at the airpark, and let you know how they hold up and how well they work. So far, I can’t see anything about them that doesn’t do what they are supposed to do.

It’s rare to find something in an airplane catalog that can be had for less than $20 – here’s an exception to the rule, and useful to boot!

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iPad Kneepad IMG_1836

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Paul Dye, KITPLANES® Editor at Large, retired as a Lead Flight Director for NASA’s Human Space Flight program, with 40 years of aerospace experience on everything from Cubs to the Space Shuttle. An avid homebuilder, he began flying and working on airplanes as a teen, and has experience with a wide range of construction techniques and materials. He flies an RV-8 that he built, an RV-3 that he built with his pilot wife, as well as a Dream Tundra they completed. Currently, they are building a Xenos motorglider. A commercially licensed pilot, he has logged over 5000 hours in many different types of aircraft and is an A&P, EAA Tech Counselor and Flight Advisor, as well as a former member of the Homebuilder’s Council. He consults and collaborates in aerospace operations and flight-testing projects across the country.

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