Custom iPad Mini Kneeboard Review

Flying

Like many fellow Pilots and aviators I grew very fond of my old tri-fold kneeboard which I discovered from my flight instructor and used it throughout my PPL (private pilot training). However, I liked the idea of carrying an iPad with me during my flight to use as an EFB (Electronic Flight Bag). I did not use the iPad during my training because I wanted to learn the old-fashioned method of flight planning and navigation without using the iPad as a crutch, but all through my training I had the iPad in the back of my mind and thought it could provide a great backup and simplify flight planning as well.

So like any engineer I created a list of requirements for my new EFB kneeboard. A few of the requirements were; must have a clipboard to attach a notebook, sturdy build quality, will accept an iPad Mini and offer some minimal protection, and also be mountable to the Yolk, Windscreen etc.

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Solo_Flight

First Solo Flight

Flight Training, Flying

This post highlights my First Solo Flight, I’m late making this post but I wanted to write this post while it’s still fresh on my mind.

The date was August, 28th of 2013 and I had scheduled a normal flying lesson with my Instructor. When I arrived at the Redstone flying club (flyingactivity.com) during the pre-lesson brief with Craig he asked me what my comfort level was when landing the Cessna 152. I suddenly got a bit nervous, I think I replied something like, “I guess I’m fairly comfortable with it since my previous lesson went pretty good.” But that wasn’t to comforting for him so he suggested that we do some trips around the pattern to practice a few landings and then could discuss a potential Solo attempt. This was very exciting, I knew I was getting close to my solo but it kind of snuck up on me since I was just getting comfortable with the landings.

I did the normal pre-flight inspection of the airplane and we prepped the plane for takeoff. I made all the radio calls to the Redstone traffic and he was pretending to be a passenger to observe my solo capability. Everything went smooth and we taxied onto runway 35 and departed, staying in the “Right Hand” traffic pattern we proceeded to complete 3-4 landings which were good and got my comfort level up a bit. The next time we took off from the runway he told me to make this a good full-stop landing and taxi back to the end of the runway he would hop out and walk back to the flying club. The blood started pumping pretty hard with excitement and anticipation. I had been waiting for this moment for years similarly to my first few flights but this time I would be on my own. I went around the pattern and made a good landing, pushed the brakes firmly to stop and he directed me to back taxi runway 35 back to Taxiway “Alfa” (the flying club ramp). He gathered his flight bag, requested my logbook and gave me the endorsement for a solo at HUA (Redstone Army Airfield) and gave me instructions to do at least 3 touch and goes and bring the airplane back in when I was done. He hopped out of the plane and yelled over the plane noise, “It will take off much quicker without my extra baggage in there.” I took note and chuckled a bit.

He proceeded to walk down Taxiway Alpha back to the flying club and I gathered my courage and started to turn the plane around and lined up and ready for takeoff at the end of runway 35. I did my final checks of the instruments and announced my intentions on the radio. I was finally ready to takeoff, I released the brakes and gave the engine full power. The plane accelerated very quick to rotation speed, about 55 knots and I pulled back on the yoke and it jumped off the ground almost instantly. I had never experienced that fast of climb rate before, then I realized why Craig warned me that it would take off much quicker…

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I continued climbing until I was in the right traffic pattern as usual, everything seemed normal except for an incredible sense of freedom that I had never experienced before. Before I knew it it was time to start my descent for my first solo landing. It seemed like I remembered all of what I had been taught and everything played slowly through my head as I anticipated the next processes and checked things off of my mental checklist, it seemed very natural besides my excitement. I was on the final approach for the runway and everything looked normal I was descending to the runway at around 60 knots and soon was over the end of the runway, I started to flare (see pictures in the gallery above for my landing approaches, compliments of my instructor Craig for taking pictures!) then I felt the wheels touch. The first landing was decent, maybe a bit harder than usual but I was OK with it. So once the wheels touched down I put the flaps to 0 degrees, turned the carb heat off and gave it full throttle and off I went for another touch and go. The next few touch and goes were almost identical I think my second attempt was the best because I waited a little bit longer to flare so it was smoother than the others. I actually logged 4 touch and goes I was having enough fun that I didn’t want to land quite yet.

As the sun was setting on the horizon I came in for my final approach and announced on the radio that I was planning a full stop landing, so it was my last for the day. After I landed I was excited and slowly began to realize that I had accomplished another dream. I couldn’t stop smiling as I taxied back to the flying club ramp to park the airplane, I saw my instructor giving me a thumbs up and directing me to the parking spot. After I shut down the plane I was greeted by Craig with a big congratulations handshake! I had done it, my first Solo flight was official.

I logged .9 hours Solo time with 4 take offs and landings as well as 6 take offs and landings with Craig for a total time that day of 1.4 hours of flight time. This Solo gave me a moral boost and it felt like I was accomplishing what I set out to do when I decided to start taking flying lessons. I was ecstatic and couldn’t wait to tell my beautiful wife all about my Solo flight!