I’m a pretty big fan of anything that makes it easier to get information in front of me in the airplane. That’s a big reason why I’m such a big fan of the FlyBoys kneeboard.
So, when I saw one of my favorite YouTube pilots, Flight Chops, using a PIVOT Case, I was intrigued. And when I discovered that it was made by the same guys who made the FlyBoys kneeboard — and that it was compatible with my kneeboard — I wanted one.
For a while, I’ve been trying to figure out a new way to get organized in the cockpit.
While my iPad setup worked fine, it was bulky to lug around and it didn’t work quite right in other airplanes — like the interestingly-shaped yoke in the Socata Trinidad that I was doing my commercial and CFI work in. That’s a big part of what made the PIVOT Case look so interesting.
The PIVOT Case uses an innovative locking mechanism to click into place in the airplane, which makes it easy to switch the iPad between being a piece of avionics in the plane and an all-purpose tablet at home.
And after flying with it for about 40 hours now, I’m happy to report that it’s one of the best cockpit gear upgrades I’ve made…
But it didn’t go quite like I’d planned.
For starters, I’d planned on sticking with my beloved kneeboard and attaching the iPad to it. And while that would probably work really well in an airplane with a stick (like a Diamond DA40 or a Cirrus), I didn’t really like how close it sat to the yoke in the Trinidad. So I decided to figure out a yoke solution.
I was able to pop the big iPad frame mount off my RAM yoke mount, and I attached the PIVOT mounting plate to it. I’ve had to clip my iPad mount onto the outside of my flight bag for the past year or so because the old frame was just too big — the PIVOT mounting plate made it small enough to slide right into my bag.
When you’re not flying, the PIVOT case comes with a magnetic folio cover that folds over to protect the screen or act as a stand. It’s thick, but it’s a really nice feature, especially because it automatically wakes and sleeps my iPad mini when it’s open and shut.
Admittedly, cockpit mounting solutions are pretty niche products, so I was happy to hear that Southwest Airlines has actually deployed PIVOT cases for all of their pilots’ EFBs — about 8,000 cases in 800 aircraft. That means that it shouldn’t be hard to find compatible accessories in the future.
Flight Chops has a good clip that shows what the case looks like (the relevant part starts at 4:08):
And PIVOT also has a good video on their website of how their cases click into position:
Now, as much as I like this case, and mounting setup, there are some drawbacks…
First, it’s bulky. The mounting plate clicks into a little channel in the back of that case, and that channel contributes to making it quite thick, especially when the folio cover is attached. While the case itself is light, that light weight also makes it feel a little cheaper than I expected.
And then there’s the price. As far as iPad cases go, this thing is expensive. The MSRP is $140 as I write — although it’s available from Sporty’s for $99.95. And you need to buy your mounting plate separately. That steep cost of admission actually made me think twice about whether I wanted to try a new case/mount system.
At the end of the day, though, I’m glad I did. Flying is an expensive pastime, and it’s worth spending a couple of dollars for a cockpit organization setup that works really well and protects your iPad at the same time. The PIVOT Case does that.
For anyone who uses their iPad outside of the cockpit or moves in between different aircraft frequently, the PIVOT Case is definitely worth the investment…