As many of you already know, today’s smartphones and tablets are now giving the GA pilot advantages that year’s ago were only available to high end aircraft. These devices can be used as your digital flight charts and navigation tools. Plus, they can be used for many other useful applications like in-flight data recording or turning your smartphone into your onboard weather radar.
However, the question becomes, where should they be put for safe and easy access? Resting them on your lap may be convenient at first, but after a little turbulence this option quickly proves inefficient. Keep in mind that it is not very practical to affix these devices in a way that is not safe either.
For instance, it is probably not a good idea to use tape, glue, or bubble gum to attach your device to the dashboard; failure of which during flight could cause a distraction at least or an injury at worst.
Consider mounting them securely using some sort of gimbal style mounting hardware. These devices offer a convenient means of locating your tablet out of the way of other instruments yet remain easily within reach. Some popular options include mechanical suction cups mounted to the windshield, clamps mounted to the yoke, or gimbal bases mounted to anywhere out of the way.
Other choices might include a leg mount attachment for your tablet like the AppStrap, Apple iPad Kneeboard, or other similar devices. These products do not require anything mounted to the dash or windscreen yet provide a good way to secure your tablet without fear of it sliding around during flight.
When determining where to attach your mount of choice, please make sure that there is clearance for adequate control movement at the extreme ranges of motion. All too often we find mounts that interfere with the movement of the controls. Remember, this new technology is fun to use – but you still need to fly the plane. Make sure that all your instruments are visible, switches easily accessible, and controls are fully functional. Then you can enjoy all the fun that tablets and smartphones can provide in the cockpit.
Perhaps you have come up with a special mounting set-up that works for you. Send us a picture and we will share it in next month’s issue.
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