Finding the perfect kneeboard is like trying to get the perfect haircut. It just doesn’t happen! Every pilot has different needs and expectations for a kneeboard and it is understandably hard to design one to suit everyone. Whilst there are many aviation kneeboard variants available, there is one competitor that is a stand out at giving it a red hot go. Pooleys! Namely, the Pooleys FB4 Flight Board.
Pooleys FB4 Flight Board is the 4th kneeboard/flightboard that I have tried. It started with CASA’s plastic kneeboard, Jeppesens VFR Tri-fold kneeboard and finally their IFR Tri-fold kneeboard. For the most part, they all served their purpose well. I’ve discovered that as you move through your training / career, your need for a kneeboard changes. Starting out doing basic circuits etc, the Jeppesen VFR Tri-fold kneeboard was fine as I only needed to jot down some notes and have information like radio calls in front of me. As I moved in to navigation training, the old Tri-fold just didn’t cut it anymore. With maps, fuel logs and flight plans, the need for a larger, more practical knee board arose. After much research, I landed on the Pooleys FB4 Flight Board.
The Pooleys FB4 Flight Board is a large folder style kneeboard about the size of a foolscap clipboard. It is a rigid construction double board hinged along the top edge and finished in black embossed vinyl. It has two strong metal spring clips on the top of the board and a plastic flip-over protective cover on front. Under which there is printed white lettering detailing a comprehensive usable flight log, selected transponder codes, distress message, phonetic alphabet, quadrantal and semi-circular rules and mnemonic vital actions and downwind check lists, most of which are suitable for Australian flying. It also includes double spring clips to hold chinagraph/lead pencils or pens.
The Road Test
The Pooleys FB4 Flight Board is suitable for longer flights where lots of hands on flying isn’t required. As there is no way to attach it to your leg, if you are heavily using the control column or rudder pedals, the board just gets in the way. I still use a kneeboard attached to my leg to record times and frequencies etc. and keep the Pooleys FB4 Flight Board between the seats until I need it (generally just after take-off).
The front of the board is large enough to hold an A4 flight plan and fuel log and provides a stable base to rest a map on while writing on it etc. The clips are in an unusual position and assume you are only using documents of A5 size which is a little annoying when Australian flight plans print in A4. The plastic sleeve at the front is good for holding an A4 print out of vital information like procedures and radio calls (if needed). The pen / pencil holder that is supplied is great, as they are usually quite expensive on their own, however, it isn’t designed to stay in place and I found that it kept falling off the back of the board. To overcome this issue, I just riveted it in place. Not something that you should have to do but it worked a charm. On the inside of the board, there are a number of A5 size plastic sleeves. Fairly useless for most purposes however, being the overly prepared person that I am, I print relevant ERSA entries from OzRunways which print at A5 size and fit perfectly in these sleeves. It’s nice to have all the airport info I need at hand.
The Pooleys FB4 Flight Board is a good cockpit companion and, with a little imagination, will suit even the fussiest of pilots. The clips and pen holders could be redesigned to be more practical but at least the board is big enough to be useful when using maps and flight logs. I’m happy with it for now and will continue to use it in combination with the Jeppesen Kneeboard.
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Have you used this Flight Board? Rate it!
1. Big enough for maps and flight plans 2. Pen and pencil holder included 3. Room to store heaps of information 4. Solid construction
1. Pen / pencil holder not secured 2. Clips not suited for A4 documents 3. Not able to be attached to your leg 4. Takes up a lot of room in the flight bag