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.
I spent a few days searching through online catalogs and aviation magazine articles for iPad kneeboards. I found there was a good variety and many met most of my requirements but not all. I then found MyGoFlight.com (MGF) and really liked the iPad Mini Kneeboard Sport. It was the first mountable iPad mini case that was also a kneeboard that i found. The “iPad Mini Kneeboard Folio C” looked promising but it didn’t offer a way to mount the iPad on a suction cup or yolk mount. They also offered an iPad Mini clipboard from the Folio C. I quickly realized that I would have to build a modular case to fit my requirements. The MGF Kneeboard Sport was designed to accept the Apple iPad mini Smart Cover that snaps on with magnets and offers protection for the iPad Mini’s screen and would also give me somewhere to mount the MGF Clipboard.
So with all the components identified to make my case I decided to buy all of them and put it all together. I ordered the MGF Clipboard and Kneeboard Sport from MyGoFlight.com and the Smart Cover from my local Apple Store. Once my order arrived from MyGoFlight.com I put everything together and loved it but I needed a way to mount the clipboard to the front or back of the Mini Smart Cover. I thought if Velcro is good enough for NASA Astronauts on the ISS then it should be good enough to hold my clipboard on the Apple Smart Cover. I found some ultra thin self adhesive Velcro at a local fabric store and applied a few strips of it on the Smart Cover. It worked great! The clipboard attaches very securely and I even put a few strips on the inside cover as well so the clipboard and the iPad can be used simultaneously during pre-flight and flight operations.
There are many different combinations of the case that can be used at different times and for different purposes. Which is great! I can take off the smart cover and only use the iPad with the case mostly for non-flight related things like browsing the web at home or checking emails (not in the cockpit). I also tested it during a flight with my instructor using the iPad Mini with the Garmin Pilot app to file our flight plan and as backup navigation with the Garmin GLO which also worked great. I found a small notebook (5″ x 7″) which fit nicely on the clipboard and allows me to take notes during the flight and prior for planning purposes, this replicates my old kneeboard which I during my private pilot training.
I have not tested mounting the kneeboard because I haven’t purchased a mount for it yet. I’m still debating on a suction cup mount or a yoke mount.
- Fits iPad Mini 3 very well
- Knee strap is very high quality and velcro stays fastened well
- Clipboard is good quality and functions well
- Very modular and easily allows multiple uses for the iPad Mini
- Works excellent with the Apple smart cover
- Integrated mount
- Build quality was a little low (some peeling already on the edges of the MGF Kneeboard Sport)
- There was some paint marks on the metal rails on the back of the case
- Clipboard is an odd size (due to the ipad mini size)
- Clipboard should have larger radius at the corners to match the kneeboard
I would buy this case again! It is a great option for a kneeboard and mount for the iPad Mini. The case allows for many different configurations of the iPad for both in-flight and non-flight uses.
This review contains my personal thoughts and experience with the product and does not represent any company of any products listed in this review.
2 thoughts on “Custom iPad Mini Kneeboard Review”
Good post. I’m thinking of doing the same. Just ordered the sport. Any update on its performance in flight?
It worked pretty well for VFR flying but once I got into my IFR training I needed something a bit more secure. So I upgraded to the Flyboys Kneeboard for notes and printed plate as backup to my iPad mini. I love the modularity of the sport though…