Tablet Mounts: The Safest Way to Secure Your Digital Device in the Cockpit

Imagine driving for hours on a long-distance road trip with your steering wheel in one hand and phone with navigation app running clutched in the other. That sounds ridiculous, right? You would just use your dash mount or cup holder insert phone holder and go hands free, right?

Exactly – and the same concept applies in the cockpit.

For many pilots, tablets and even smart phones have taken the place of printed charts as primary navigational tools. The digital cockpit is here to stay, and that means we all need a plan for how and where to mount our digital devices so they are secure and positioned for easy in-flight use.

Not sure how to mount your phone in the cockpit? Today we’re covering the best phone and tablet airplane mounts. We’ll share placement ideas and tips plus our top picks for mounting any size device.

Are you ready to get your mounting gear dialed in? Let’s check out the options.

Parts of a Phone and Tablet Mount

Before we get into the best products, let’s talk anatomy of a device mount. Your device holder is made up of three components: the base, the arm, and the cradle.


The base of the mount is the part that secures to your aircraft. Bases are typically designed with a 1” ball-style attachment point for the arm so it can swivel and pivot as you reposition your device. 


A mounting arm connects the device cradle to the base. When you reposition the arm, it swivels on the base’s ball. Arms come in different lengths and a few even feature a double socket swiveling design for the best articulation and flexibility.

Universal Cradle

As the name suggests, the device cradle gently holds your phone or tablet while it’s mounted. The cradle attaches to the top of the arm via another swiveling ball point.

Pro Tip: Most cradles are universal tablet or universal phone designs, so you just need to confirm that type and size of device you want to mount fits in the cradle. The individual model of your device doesn’t matter. 

Types of Phone and Tablet Cockpit Mounts

Phone holders in a car and mounts in a plane are similar. You can choose a suction base device or one that is secured with clamping pressure.

In a car, non-suction mounts usually wedge into air vents or are placed in cup holders. An aircraft’s non-suction cockpit device mounts use clamps, U-bolts, or screws to secure the mount to fixed objects.

  • Suction Mount
  • Clamp Mount
  • Fixed Mount

Pros and Cons of Suction Mounts

Versatility is the main advantage of the suction mount. With a suction cup mount, your device placement options really open up. If a surface is smooth, flat, and easy to grip like glass and non-textured metal, plastic, and acrylic, you can place your suction mount on it.

Loss of grip is the biggest concern with suction mounts since you are trusting your device to the holding power of a suction cup. The good news is that today’s suction mounts are more reliable than the Gen 1 models, so slipping isn’t as likely to be a problem.

Pro Tip: Look for a mount with a twist lock base for extra gripping. You can also go the triple suction cup base route for extra holding power. Avoid attaching your suction mount to curved or irregular surfaces because it is more likely to lose its grip.

Pros and Cons of Clamp Mounts

Manually tightened clamp mounts can be more secure than suction mounts in turbulence. You also don’t have to worry about what type of surface you’re installing them on, as you do with suction mounts. As long as you can physically fit the clamp opening of the mount around the item you want to attach to, you can secure it. Dedicated yoke and glareshield clamp mounts are designed for maximum ease of installation and effectiveness of use in each location.

The downside of clamp mounts is you can’t put them on your windscreen or other flat surfaces. You’ll need a sturdy, fixed item of a diameter or thickness that the clamp mount can be placed around. Depending on your aircraft configuration, your placement options may be limited.

Pros and Cons of Permanent Mounts

The obvious upside of a permanent mount setup is that you don’t have to worry about the mount falling off. Your mount base is not going anywhere no matter how much turbulence you encounter.

Of course the trade-off is that if you want to remove the mount, it’s going to take some extra work (not to mention leaving holes behind).

The bottom line is fixed mounts are best for pilots who own their aircraft and have a dedicated spot they want to perma-mount their devices in. Renters will naturally need to stick with temporary, removable solutions like suction or clamp models.

Where to Mount Your Phone in the Cockpit

For navigation, many pilots like mounting their digital devices on the yoke or glareshield. This keeps the screen easily within your line of sight. You’ll want to use a clamp-style mount for these locations.

Clamp mounts are also helpful for securing a tablet or phone to struts, rails, support bars, and other sturdy, fixed objects onboard your aircraft.

Pro Tip: To get the most value and versatility out of your mounting system, consider purchasing both a clamp and suction mount base that work with the same arm and cradle. This strategy lets you easily move your device around the cockpit for activities like video recording in addition to navigation.

RAM Mounts

No matter what device you need to secure, RAM has a mount for that. The RAM aviation mount collection includes both full kits and the individual a la cart components to create your own set-up or add on to an existing kit.

The mix and match bases, arms, and cradles are great for pilots who like to record flight videos and want to mount multiple devices. With the stand-alone components, you also get to put together your perfect combination of arm type and length, base mounting style, and cradle design.

Akron Mounts

Akron Mounts offers a selection of affordable universal suction and clamp mount kit set-ups that work with all sizes and generations of both iPad and Android tablets. They even have a heavy-duty double suction mount tablet holder for larger, heavier screens. Akron’s complete digital device mounting kits set you up with all the components you need to get your device secured for take off.

More Tablet and Digital Device Tips

It’s your turn

We’d love to hear about your in-flight set-up. What digital devices do you fly with and how do you keep them from bouncing around the cockpit? Any tips and ideas you’d like to share with new pilots who are just figuring out their set-ups?

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