Air Force One

With the Presidential transition taking place yesterday, Air Force One has been on center stage quite a bit lately. As an aviation enthusiast, constantly seeing this beautiful plane got me wondering; what’s going on in there? Does Air Force One have an emergency escape pod as rumored? What’s the history behind the planes? In honor of the Presidential transition, SkyGeek is happy to bring you everything you ever wanted to know about Air Force One.

To start, Air Force One is not one plane in particular. Any U.S.A.F. aircraft carrying the president is referred to the call sign of “Air Force One” by air traffic control. That being said, the main Presidential fleet used on a day to day basis consists of two fully customized Boeing 747-200B VC-25’s with the tail codes of 28000 and 29000. Each plane cost $325 million dollars to build and can accommodate 70 passengers and 26 crew members.

Now you can get your own Air Force One for a WHOLE lot less!!
Just have to pass on the passengers and crew members.

Air Force One Foam Board Glider

Hot Wings Air Force One Diecast Model

The first Presidential aircraft was put into use during the administration of Franklin D. Roosevelt. The aircraft used was a reconfigured Douglas C-54 Skymaster with the nickname “Sacred Cow.” The actual call sign “Air Force One” came about during the Eisenhower administration when an Eastern Airlines commercial flight with the same call sign as the Presidents plane caused mass confusion.

Over the years, the type of aircraft used to fly the President changed somewhat frequently. The C-54 was replaced by the C-118 Liftmaster. The Liftmaster was then replaced by the Lockheed C-121 Constellation, which was replaced by the Boeing 707. Ultimately, the Boeing 747 came in use during the administration of George H.W. Bush.
Now that you probably know more about the history of Air Force One than any President does, let’s jump into the fun stuff. What’s on the thing?

The front of the plane is typically referred to as the “White House” of the plane. This is where the President’s executive suite is located. The suite includes the President’s sleeping quarters, two bed-convertible couches, a bathroom with a double sink and full shower and an Oval Office in the air where the President can address the entire nation in front of a 50 inch plasma screen television. The plane also includes a conference room, workout area, two galley kitchens capable of serving 100+ people at once, separate quarters for guests, secret service and aids, one doctor, one nurse, furniture hand-crafted by master carpenters, 87 phones and 19 televisions.

So what about the escape pod? My whole life I’ve heard that one exists, but I never really researched it to find out whether or not it was true. According to the government, no such pod exists. However, my inherent distrust of government combined with my understanding of security based secrecy lead me to believe that the possibility of an emergency escape pod on Air Force One still exists. This, and the fact that there’s no reason not to have one! You’ve got all the money you need, you’ve got the ability to do it, and it makes sense to have. I have a hard time believing that there ISN’T one.

Well, that ends our short little history lesson on Air Force One; we hope you enjoyed it. For some low cost equipment to keep your Air Force One performing at its best, check out some great deals on the aviation supplies below.

 

Aero 600 Avionics Cleaner – Aero 600 Avionics Cleaner has been introduced into the aviation community as the optimal cleaner for glass cockpits, electronic notebooks, simulators and laptops.

Warning Banners – Remove before Flight should be placed on gear doors to warn and protect aircraft personnel. If you are trying to unload a plane in your fleet you can’t go wrong with colorful For Sale Banners (and For Rent Streamers) that can be mounted on your aircraft Propellers. If you want to keep someone’s grubby little hands off your prize possession, the Do Not Tow banners are what you’re looking for.

 
Zinc Chromate Primer – Zinc Chromate (soon to be discontinued: now Chromate Free products are available) and Zinc Oxide Primers are for the bare metal surfaces of your aircraft. They are meant to bond to and prime the metal surface before painting. Keep in mind that the Zinc Oxide Primer is just as good as the old Zinc Chromate products, and much safer to use.

 
Aircraft Wire – This aircraft wire is commonly used for standard hookup in light aircraft, and complies with all current and anticipated military & AA requirements. Just tell us how many feet you need and we’ll have your aircraft wire order in your hands in a matter of days!

Static Wicks & Dischargers – We SkyGeeks don’t like static, we like everything to be smooth to the point from our products to our customer service! We want to help you reduce the buildup of static electricity and increase noise reduction on your aircraft with top quality Static Dischargers Also known as discharge wicks or static wicks, these dischargers will improve your aircraft’s running performance and reduce noise. The wick or conductive element provides a low resistance discharge path between the air and your aircraft and limits the buildup of static electricity.

New Year’s Resolutions – SkyGeek Style!

Let’s be honest. New Year’s resolutions pretty much stink. All they do is put extra pressure on you to do something that’s usually completely unattainable. When you can’t actually follow through, you end up feeling like a failure. For instance, one year my college friend resolved to mow the grass every week. A few weeks later, he gave up completely. To save face, he thought it would be a good idea to buy a goat and throw “Come Watch the Goat Mow our Grass” parties. It worked great a first, but then the goat ended up eating ate ALL the grass, right down to the dirt. The “Watch the Grass Grow Back” parties just didn’t have the same appeal.

That being said, I was struck with a bit of inspiration over the holidays. As I listened to loudmouthed Aunt Millie stuff her face with black eyed peas, cabbage, and ham on New Year’s Day “for good luck” and talk about her resolution to lose weight (ironic, I know…especially because it would take her a lifetime of keeping that resolution to even scratch the surface), I realized I wanted to spite her by actually keeping a resolution or two of my own. My first one was to never eat peas, cabbage, and ham again. My second was to chew with my mouth closed.

We believe that if you resolve to do something you enjoy, you’ll actually stick with it. SkyGeek wants to bring you a new line of products to help formulate a few resolutions based on what you love to do, FLY.

Resolution 1:
You WILL remember which type of gas goes in the plane.
Ok, sometimes you can’t help being the absent minded professor any more than Millie can help herself from hoarding the chocolate cake. At least you can leave yourself helpful reminders. These decals will help your resolution “stick” (literally) by adhering right to the gas tank, so when you’re itching to grab the fuel, you’ll find the voice of reason.

Resolution 2:
You WILL make smoother landings (it’s the safest way to fly).
Yes, yes we understand that the first time you bounced because the wind caught the plane at a weird angle, and the second time you hit a pothole in the runway (they should really work on keeping those things smoother!), and the third time you were swerving to avoid a bird, etc. Just humor us and try to land smoother and straighter. In the event that this resolution proves to be fruitless, SkyGeek brings you a full selection of replacement tires and tubes by Michelin, Goodyear, and McCreary.

 
Resolution 3:
You WILL take good care of your plane.
Love it, wash it, replace worn parts, and change the oil (coincidentally, everything you need to do all that can be found at SkyGeek.com…weird…). We have a ton of airplane tow bars to help you maneuver the plane while it’s on the ground, leaving you few excuses to skive out of plane maintenance. They’re ridiculously strong, easy to attach and won’t damage the plane.

 
Resolution 4:
You WILL properly de-ice the plane instead of throwing a temper tantrum.
There is something about seeing your plane covered in ice in the morning that just makes you want to crawl back into bed. Luckily for you, the aviation grade de-icer products at SkyGeek loosen up ice on locks, handles, and windshields, ensuring a smoother de-icing session and a safer flight. Even better, there’s no need to recreate that scene from Home Alone 2. The Arrow Magnolia Boot Prep solution reduces build-up and dulling during de-icing operations so your feet will stay on the ground instead of over your head (unless, of course, you’re doing some awesome barrel rolls). Just spray it on. It’s so easy to use, a goat could eat it…I mean do it.

 
All the resolutions aside, everyone here at SkyGeek just really wants you to enjoy 2009 by making more time to fly and taking care of your plane. As another year ticks away, the “I’ll get to it later” excuse need not apply if you’re resolving to have more fun and take the bird out for a spin. Stick to it this year – it’s not over until the fat lady sings! Luckily for all of us, Aunt Millie’s throat is usually too full to speak, much less sing, so it looks like we’re in the clear. That’s all folks, talk to you again soon.

The Little Things

Over time, we’ve all grown to appreciate the little things in life. You know, like the moment you take your shoes off after a hard days work, having exact change in your pocket, or the comfort you feel after flipping to the cool side of your pillow on a hot summer’s night. Yeah, the little things sure are great.

The problem is there are usually a few little things that drive you up the wall as well. Referencing my own experiences, I would say such things would include paper cuts, not being able to get a cowlick down, forgetting what you were going to say a few minutes prior, and stepping on a doggy “land mine”. They’re not going to affect your life in any drastic way, they’re just annoying little things that you shouldn’t have to deal with.

Well, SkyGeek is here to make sure that when it comes to flying, you’re on the right side of the “little things” pendulum swing. Chasing down a clear sunset at 8,000 feet is one of life’s’ great treasures. Angling your entire body to see out a dirty plane window is one of life’s great annoyances.

Pick up some window cleaner and save yourself the aggravation. SkyGeek has a boat load of airplane & helicopter cleaning products to keep your aircraft clean, polished up and looking sharp.

Whether it’s fate’s idea of a cruel joke I’m not sure, but doesn’t it always seem like the biggest problems stem from the tiniest little things? Whether it’s a devastating forest fire caused by a single camp-fire ember, or a few little termites being responsible for the destruction of your home, it’s easy to say that small things matter.

 

When it comes to your plane, the same thing holds true. A little grease in your engine could mean the difference between flight and fright (to put it nicely). SkyGeek carries a variety of Aeroshell Grease types that will fit your plane’s needs. While you’re at it, check out SkyGeek’s fuel testers & fuel gauges to further ensure that your plane is being properly maintained.
 

True story time!

I once had to build a bird house for geometry class. My teacher figured the angles and measurements would help us get a more hands on feel for what he was trying to teach. We had to have our parents sign a permission slip that stated we would do the math, and they (the parents) would do the sawing and whatnot. Quoting my teacher; “I don’t want to have a bunch of 8 fingered students running around here.” So I had the slip signed and eventually my father and I began to work on the bird house. Soon after, I began to notice that the bird house wasn’t turning out so good. I said “Dad, why does this look so bad…I did all the measurements correctly…I know I did.” He turned to me, held up a rusty bow saw that he must have found at the bottom of the deepest part of the ocean and said “I’m working like a #*%&*$* pilgrim over here, that’s why!” So, I reluctantly brought the birdhouse in on the day they were due. The first thing I noticed was that we had a substitute teacher. Apparently, Mr. Byrne had stayed after school the previous day helping kids who didn’t have help from their parents. While helping a student, one of the pieces of wood slipped and Mr. Byrne lost half of two fingers. I wound up with a C, and my teacher wound up “running around with 8 fingers.”

So what’s the moral of the story?
1.    In the case of the teacher, don’t throw rocks if you live in a glass house (?).
2.    In the case of my dad and I, knowledge and experience won’t get you anywhere without preparedness.

For example, let’s say you’re an expert pilot and you know your plane inside and out. What happens when you’re at 6,000 feet and you lose electrical, or your radio goes on the fritz? All that knowledge and experience isn’t going to mean much if you don’t have a handheld radio as a backup. Now, if you’re going to prepare yourself (or like some people do, just get one to listen in on all the action), you might as well save some money. That’s where SkyGeek comes in.
 

That’s enough storytelling for me today. Take care my fellow aviation enthusiasts. Enjoy the fruits of your labor and don’t forget to enjoy the little things.

What is This, Y2K?

 

This is a public service announcement from SkyGeek. On second thought, let’s just call this a helpful reminder. Smokey the Bear has probably already blown your “public service announcement gasket” which incidentally may have caused a forest fire. Didn’t think of that did you Smokey? You know what the ironic part is Smokey, only YOU could have prevented it by letting everyone breathe in the mid 90’s without bombarding them with information they already know. Sorry, I know he’s a fictional character but I had to get that off my chest.

Anyway, there is a bit of information every Pilot should be aware of. On February 1, 2009 satellites will no longer be processing emergency distress signals on 121.5/243 MHz emergency beacons. Aviators using emergency beacons will need to switch to those operating at 406 MHz if they want to be detected. Basically, on February 1st your 121.5/243 MHz emergency beacon becomes a glorified paper weight. Well, ok, not that bad – it is 100% mandatory if you fly to Canada & Mexico.  If you fly in the US you will still be tracked via 121.5 Freqs but the 406 Mhz is much more accurate and results in a 100% quick location.

 

If you’re not 406 compliant, don’t worry, SkyGeek has you covered. We carry 406 mhz beacons at the best possible prices and they’re all fully compliant with the February 1st changes.

AirGizmos™ Universal Gust Locks – This is an extremely handy little gizmo that allows you to quickly lock down virtually any control surface securely. If you don’t know what that means, trust me, your pilot will.

Now that you know what emergency beacon you’ll need for 2009, let’s try and make sure you don’t have to use it. One of the best ways of avoiding it is to have a safety checklist. Every pilot should have a checklist to make sure they’ve done everything they need to ensure their safety before take-off. If you go to the grocery store without a list, once in a while you’ll forget something.

The difference? If you forget something at the grocery store you could end up with a dry turkey sandwich. If you forget something before take-off you could end up with a dried up corpse. Spike Lee told everyone to “do the right thing.” I think he was talking about getting a safety checklist. 

Along with a safety checklist and a 406 mhz emergency beacon, there are a few other Airplane Essentials that should be sured up for the New Year. I have something to say about all of these essential products, but it all has to do with me blaming Smokey the Bear for their necessity. I figure I’ll spare you the vent. Go to the Airplane Essentials page and you can check them out for yourself…you’ll thank me later.

Lastly, I figure it’s about time to show the Airbus Pilot some love. Too often he or she gets overlooked in our discussions. Well, it’s 2009 (hours away anyway) and I’m turning over a new leaf. If you drive an Airbus, and you want to use your standard General Aviation Headset, you’re in luck. SkyGeek offers nifty little adapters that allow you to do just that. Airbus people, it’s your time to shine.
 
Well, that’s it ladies and gents. That’s it for this message, and that’s it for 2008.
Happy 2009 from SkyGeek and thanks for making 2008 a great year !