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Best Pilot Kneeboard Options in 2024

Whether you’re a student pilot or an experienced aviator, let’s find the right kneeboard for your unique needs.

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Sporty’s Classic Kneeboard provides a simple, economical option for new or seasoned pilots. [image credit: Sporty’s]

Just like a reliable headset, a dependable kneeboard is an essential accessory for pilots in the flight deck. Whether you’re a new student pilot or a seasoned flyer, having a reliable way to organize your flight documents is a critical element of each safe and successful flight.

The way pilots access their flight documents has changed with rapid advancements in technology over the past couple of decades. Although paper is still very much a reliable way to view your charts and checklists, many pilots have transitioned to electronic resources. As a result, the accessories to keep pilots organized have changed as well. Let’s explore some of the best pilot kneeboards on the market to meet your unique needs.

Quick Look: Top Pilot Kneeboard Options

9 Best Kneeboards for Pilots

No pilot is the same and no kneeboard is equal. Let’s explore the nine best kneeboards on the market to meet nine unique flight deck needs.

Sporty’s Classic Kneeboard

The simple and durable Sporty’s Classic Kneeboard provides an easy-to-use platform for student pilots as well as experienced aviators who value simplicity. A single metal clip can hold checklists, charts, notes, and even a tablet, while an adjustable elastic strap with hook and loop closure ensures a comfortable fit. This is an affordable option for student pilots and a great starting kneeboard for those who are just beginning to explore the kneeboard market.

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Best for: Student pilots and pilots desiring simplicity in the flight deck

Pros:

  • Simple and durable aluminum design with two foam backings provide stability when mounting the kneeboard to the leg.
  • Supports paper and electronic flight documents with a single clip mounted to the top of the kneeboard.
  • Includes a VFR/IFR reference placard, which provides essential flight information such as flight plan sequence, mandatory reporting points, cruising altitudes, etc.

Cons:

  • While some pilots appreciate the simplicity and durability of this classic kneeboard, others may prefer more modern designs with additional functionality.
  • The minimal functionality also lacks some basic features such as a writing utensil holder.
  • The kneeboard strap adjustability is limited, and the strap stitching and elasticity lack durability.

Price: $16.95 

ASA VFR Tri-Fold Kneeboard

Best for: Pilots conducting VFR operations

This versatile ASA VFR Tri-Fold Kneeboard is designed as the next step in the flight training journey. Its three-panel design provides maximum storage space for pilots who need to carry more items during their flights. It encourages flight deck organization and serves as the pilot’s desk during flight.

Pros:

  • Wide elastic leg band’s hook and loop fasteners fit any leg size comfortably.
  • Supports paper and electronic flight documents with a single clip mounted to the top of the kneeboard.
  • Brushed aluminum clipboard offers quick access to VFR reference information such as weather and flight planning, VFR ceilings, visibility, cloud clearance, cruising altitudes, pilot weather reports, light gun signals, a crosswind component graph, and more.

Cons:

  • Unable to fit FAA charts in the clear vinyl panel without additional folding of the documents, however, see ASA Long Tri-Fold Kneeboard – $45.04 for an alternative option.
  • Accessories other than the clipboard are not included, however, E6B flight computer – $49.95 and other accessories can be purchased separately.
  • Bulky design may get in the way of flight controls, while the Cordura-like fabric may cause sweating during extensive flight operations.

Price: $49.95

ASA IFR Tri-Fold Kneeboard

Best for: Pilots conducting IFR operations

Like the ASA VFR Tri-Fold Kneeboard, the IFR version has a three-panel design, providing maximum storage space for pilots who need to carry more items during their flights. The left panel has ample room for small books, papers, and a flight computer. The center panel holds the clipboard under clear plastic with a writing utensil holder and buttonholes on either side, allowing a pilot to fold back one or both panels with the legend. The right panel contains a clear pocket for easy chart viewing.

Pros:

  • Wide elastic leg band’s hook and loop fasteners fit any leg size comfortably.
  • Supports paper and electronic flight documents with a single wide and sturdy clip mounted to the top of the aviation kneeboard.
  • Brushed aluminum clipboard offers quick access to IFR reference information such as flight plan equipment qualifiers, IFR alternate minimums, required reports, lost communications and more.

Cons:

  • Accessories other than the clipboard are not included, however, the E6B flight computer – $49.95 and other accessories can be purchased separately.
  • Bulky design may get in the way of flight controls, while the Cordura-like fabric may cause sweating during extensive flight operations.
  • Due to its tri-fold design, the side wings of the kneeboard may not lie flat across every lap size.

Price: $49.95

MyGoFlight iPad Folio C Kneeboard

Best for: Pilots conducting operations with iPads

This MyGoFlight iPad Folio C Kneeboard is the perfect high-quality leather, rotating kneeboard for any 9-11″ iPad or tablet. The iPad is held by four adjustable clips that are attached to a rotating cradle. All ports and controls remain accessible, so the iPad can be charged, synced, and controlled.

Pros:

  • The rotating cradle provides solid rotation of the device, allowing the viewing angle to be easily adjusted.
  • Two aluminum rails on the underside of the case frame the leg and hold the wide elastic strap to hold the case securely and comfortably to the leg.
  • Includes a magnetic clipboard for notes, checklists, or other important information to ensure all documents stay in place even during turbulence.
  • Beyond aviation use, the kneeboard serves as an everyday case for the iPad, providing protection and functionality to the device.

Cons:

  • This is one of the priciest kneeboard options available on the market.
  • Its chunky and heavy design can be an inconvenience during certain flight operations.
  • Functions such as the power button and camera are not easily accessible, making it difficult to quickly turn the iPad on/off or take a picture.
  • The clipboard feature can be awkward when the case is closed and there is nowhere to store writing utensils, which can be inconvenient for note taking.

Price: $179.00

Flight Outfitters Centerline Kneeboard

Best for: Pilots conducting operations with iPad minis

With so many iPad mini kneeboards available on the market, this Flight Outfitters Centerline Kneeboard has been test flown and proven to be one of the best and most reliable. This kneeboard has a silicone attachment mechanism allowing pilots to see more of the screen while taking up the minimal amount of space in their flight deck. The flexible holder is mounted to a firm surface that also provides rotational capabilities.

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Pros:

  • The versatile and user-friendly design offers a silicone iPad holder, ensuring secure placement of the device during flights. It includes a fold-down platform on the side, perfect for holding an iPhone, sunglasses, or notepad. The custom-molded platform is rigid enough for writing, yet soft enough to tuck away when not in use.
  • The kneeboard uses high-friction fabric to keep the kneeboard from sliding around the leg. Two padded strips help contour the flat board to the round leg, while an elastic strap holds it firmly in place.
  • For pilots who switch between landscape and portrait modes, the kneeboard easily rotates around the center-of-mass for the iPad, allowing pilots to adjust the screen orientation as needed.
  • This kneeboard strikes a balance between functionality and affordability, making it a great choice for pilots who want a reliable kneeboard without breaking the bank.

Cons:

  • Leg strap does not adjust well to various leg sizes.

Price: $69.95

iPad Slimline Rotating Kneeboard

Best for: Pilots conducting operations with iPads in varying orientations, while desiring simplicity in the flight deck

The iPad Slimline Rotating Kneeboard is a practical solution for using an iPad in the flight deck. It is designed to be simple and functional, without any unnecessary bells and whistles. The integrated rotating mechanism allows for effortless switching between portrait and landscape orientation.

Pros:

  • Simple, functional, and low-price kneeboard.
  • Rotating mechanism allows for easy switching from portrait to landscape orientation.
  • Universal design is compatible with a variety of iPad and tablet sizes and cases.

Cons:

  • The simple size of the kneeboard means there’s limited space for additional items, such as other accessories or flight documents.
  • Users have reported the elastic straps can wear out over time.
  • The kneeboard does not offer extra storage space for writing utensils or other small items.

Price: $22.95

Flight Gear iPad Bi-Fold Kneeboard

Best for: Pilots using bi-fold kneeboards for flight operations

This Flight Gear iPad Bi-Fold Kneeboard is a versatile accessory for pilots who want to keep their iPad/tablet handy during flights, while keeping their flight deck workspace organized.

Pros:

  • The universal design incorporates two movable brackets that fit most iPads/tablets with almost any case.
  • The back side of the mounting surface features an integrated kickstand to allow for adjustable viewing angles, while reducing the glare from the flight deck windows.
  • Thoughtful organizational features include two flat pockets, which can be further customized with Sporty’s Gear Mods to meet each pilot’s unique needs.

Cons:

  • The bi-fold design, while versatile, can make the kneeboard bulkier than simpler options available on the market.
  • While the adjustable brackets provide flexibility, some pilots may find them tricky to set up initially.
  • Although the integrated kickstand is a useful feature, its stability can vary based on the surface it rests on.

Price: $39.95

Flight Gear Tri-Fold Kneeboard

Best for: Pilots using tri-fold kneeboards for flight operations

This Flight Gear Tri-Fold Kneeboard is an essential tool for pilots seeking maximum organization during flights, while enjoying ample storage. It provides a solid writing surface and space for commonly used items, like checklists, nav logs, and sectional charts. Plus, elastic straps are attached at the corners and are perfectly spaced for holding iPads/tablets.

Pros:

  • The universal design fits 9.7” to 11” iPads and most other tablet sizes with or without a case.
  • The tri-fold design has a spot for everything, helping pilots stay organized with a zippered storage compartment, two flat pockets, and space for Sporty’s Gear Mods.
  • The solid clipboard is great for copying clearances or managing charts, while doubling as a quick reference tool for VFR and IFR information.

Cons:

  • The tri-fold design, while versatile, can make the kneeboard bulkier than simpler options available on the market.
  • Due to its tri-fold design, the side wings of the kneeboard may not lie flat across every lap size.

Price: $34.95

FlyBoys Classic Kneeboard

Best for: Military pilots and pilots seeking durability and flexibility in the flight deck

This FlyBoys Classic Kneeboard has been the kneeboard of choice for military aviators for decades. It features seven eyelets for securing checklists, plastic checklist pages, in-flight guides, and more. The clipboard is also perfect for securing notes, low level charts, lineup cards, attack cards, target photos, standard approach plates, or an iPad mini.

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Pros:

  • Durable construction allows the kneeboard to withstand tough environments, making it suitable for a wide range of flying operations.
  • Supports paper and electronic flight documents with flexible design features.
  • The plastic clipboard provides an excellent writing surface while conforming to the pilot’s leg for maximum comfort.

Cons:

  • Although the eyelets provide secure storage for various items, the kneeboard itself does not have built-in pockets or compartments.
  • Although the eyelets align with Jeppesen approach plates and chart protectors, they are not an exact match.
  • While the included flexible plastic clipboard is a nice feature, some pilots may prefer a more rigid writing surface.

Price: $39.95

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Kneeboard

With paper documents still being used in the flight deck, and so many iPads and tablets available on the market, it can be difficult to choose the right kneeboard for your needs and skill level. Let’s dive into some key considerations when choosing a kneeboard.

Type of Flying

Consider the type of flight operations you are conducting. IFR flights typically require more planning and chart work, so a kneeboard with more storage space might be beneficial. If you frequently fly at night, consider a kneeboard that’s compatible with an attachable light.

Personal Preferences and Ergonomics

Consider the design and fit of the kneeboard; some pilots prefer padded kneeboards, while others may prefer a more sturdy, minimalistic design. Think about the amount of storage space you need; some kneeboards have added pockets for maps, pens, and other essentials.

Budget

Kneeboards come in a wide range of prices. Set a budget and look for options within that range. Keep in mind that higher-priced kneeboards may offer additional features or better durability.

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Durability and quality

Look for kneeboards made from durable materials. Check reviews and ratings to ensure the kneeboard is of good quality and will withstand wear and tear.

Find the Perfect Kneeboard for Your Unique Needs

A kneeboard is an essential tool to keep you organized in the flight deck. Whether you’re just starting out on your aviation journey or have been flying for a while, there is a kneeboard out there that will meet your unique needs. Don’t put off buying this accessory any longer, as it is sure to equip you to fly safely and comfortably every time.

FAQ

Do fighter pilots use kneeboards?

Yes, the government still heavily utilizes paper resources, making a kneeboard an essential accessory in a fighter jet flight deck.

What do pilots use kneeboards for?

Kneeboards serve as a convenient platform for pilots to keep essential materials organized and within reach during flight.

Do airline pilots use kneeboards?

Yes, however, most airliners have designated mounts in their flight decks for flight paperwork and iPads/tables, so the use of pilot kneeboards is not as common.

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