Harper Aviation was founded by Rick Harper to design and manufacture the Ultimate Kneeboard®. The company, originally based in Eagle, Idaho, is a family-run business that has proudly been handed down from one military officer to another.

Rick earned his private pilot’s license in 1980 at the age of 19. In 1986, he entered the Air Force Officer Training School, followed by Undergraduate Pilot Training at Reese Air Force Base in Lubbock, Texas. Rick graduated with a fighter pilot qualification and was asked to stay at Reese AFB as a T-37 instructor pilot. While there, he helped hundreds of young officers to earn their silver Air Force wings.

As the Persian Gulf War ended in the spring of 1991, Rick earned his civilian flight instructor rating. Students and fellow pilots asked Rick where they could get a kneeboard like the one he was using. Unable to find a comparable kneeboard on the civilian market, Rick decided to design a kneeboard of his own. After months of research and ideas from other pilots, Rick began to manufacture our Ultimate Kneeboard®. Modifications from Rick’s Air Force kneeboard were needed to accommodate the civilian pilot—most notably the seven-hole design to accept Jeppesen® charts.

Rick holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from Brigham Young University, a Master of Aviation/Aerospace Management from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, and a Master of Business Administration from Northcentral University.

In addition, Rick currently flies the Boeing 757 and 767s with Delta Air Lines. After 28 years of combined active duty and Air National Guard service, he retired from the Idaho Air National Guard in 2015. He has more than 16,000 hours, and over 2,000 as an instructor.

In 2019, Rick swore Jonny Henderson, his relative, into the Colorado National Guard as an Aviation Officer. In 2021, Jonny graduated as a UH-60L Black Hawk pilot from Fort Rucker, Alabama. 

In early 2022, Jonny took over the operations and fulfillment for Harper Aviation. Harper Aviation has transitioned its headquarters to the Greater Denver Area, and manufacturing is soon to follow. Our products continue to be American-made.

Jonny holds a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering and an advanced certificate in German from Idaho State University. He plans to start his private pilot’s license this year.

My crew on the ramp in Kandahar, Afghanistan. L to R: SSgt George Lewis, Flight Engineer; Capt Drew Walter, Navigator; Lt Col Rick Harper, Pilot; Sra Jason Fontaine, Loadmaster; MSgt Randy Baker, Loadmaster; Capt Jim Hawkes, Co-pilot

Capt Chris Spangenberg and I on the ramp at Erbil, Iraq.

On the ramp at Gowen Field in Boise, Idaho.

Rick swearing Jonny in to military service as an Army aviation officer.