Gift Help – From SkyGeek!

Not sure what to get your pilot friends and family members for the holidays? Well, SkyGeek is here to help. 

I used to be a last minute holiday shopper, then I came to the realization that:

 1. It was just way too stressful and it took away from some of the enjoyment derived from holiday relaxation time. 

2. My last minute gifts sucked (pardon my English).

So, I turned over a new leaf and started shopping early…best thing I could have done. You have more time to think about a good gift that people will actually appreciate (the thought doesn’t always count for much), and you can get everything out of the way and enjoy the holidays as they’re meant to be enjoyed.

For those of you shopping early, we’re going to help out even further. We’ve laid out some great gift ideas, and in many cases, sorted them out by the type of pilot you’re shopping for. check them out below.


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Staying Warm – SkyGeek Style

It’s starting to get colder out consistently, which means taking refuge in the comfort of your own home is bound to happen more and more. If you’re like me, this means that on occasion you’ll be gravitating toward the fireplace to unwind with a good book.

Assuming you enjoy aviation (as you’re currently reading the SkyGeek newsletter), what better way to unwind by the fire than with an aviation book? Oprah has her book collection, and we have ours.

SkyGeek has nothing against Oprah, but we think there’s one big difference between our books and her suggestions. Oprah’s books provide you with an excuse to weep over the lives of mostly fictional characters. The majority of our books provide you with practical knowledge to be used in real life situations.

Sure, some people may say “that book sounds boring; let me get you a character driven drama!” Being an aviation enthusiast, the only response required is “No thanks,  I don’t expect you to understand.”

For those of you who enjoy reading and do understand, you can find our entire aviation book selection here.

If you’re looking for some recommendations, here’s a few of our most popular collections. 

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It’s On Like Donkey Kong

If you’ve watched television within the last two months, you’ve probably had it hammered into your helpless skull that according to Southwest Airlines, “it’s on”! Exactly what “it” is…well you’ll have to ask them…because it’s about as vague as you can get. Is IT the Clown from the Stephen King movie on the plane with us!!! Tell me no….tell me no!!!! Probably not that, but apparently some sort of it is now on, leading me to reason that before Southwest Airlines must have been completely unplugged.

In actuality, I’m pretty sure it has something to do with your bags flying free when you go on a trip. If that’s the case, for us, “It’s been on” for years (note: we better watch out, new Cap-and-Trade legislation may tax us for being “on” so long).

That’s one of the perk’s of being a pilot / aviation enthusiast, not paying to bring your stuff with you when you go somewhere…if you can call that a perk. Whatever the case may be, I know that not paying to bring my bags somewhere is better than paying to do so. So Southwest is right in that respect, but then become grossly wrong when they begin to equate that thought with “it” being “on”. “That” is just “Off”.

Well, SkyGeek has a bag policy as well….but nothing is on. You know that quality bags are better than crappy bags. You also know that paying less for them is better than paying more. So, if you’re in need of a new bag to bring with you for free on your flight, here’s a few to choose from. Nothing is on, there’s no “it”…we’re just offering them to you if you need them at the low prices you’ve come to appreciate.

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Crisp Air?

The Fall transition has begun, and many parts of the country are beginning to get a dose of that oh so refreshing “crisp air.” Now that I think about it, I’m not sure whether or not I like the phrase “crisp air.” Can air really be “crisp”? Is it supposed to snap when I bite at it? It just doesn’t sit right with me…like the word “monies” and “foodstuffs.” While I’m not sure about the phrase, I am sure that the feeling it brings makes for one of the best feeling of the year.

With it comes great things like better tasting coffee and hot chocolate, the task of bundling up and staying warm (which on some primal…reptilian brain level seems to bring enjoyment to me), and of course football. It also brings that cold feeling in your chest when you breathe in really hard, or go for a jog….which to quote John Mellencamp….”hurts so good”. And let’s not forget the beautiful folliage (especially from the air!). The Fall is great for “leaf peeping”, which unlike “foodstuffs” is a bit of English vernacular I enjoy…mostly because it conjures up a mental image of someone secretly sneaking around the forest spying on leaves and trying not to be noticed by the trees.

All those things are certainly wonderful, but a little air can do a lot more than get you in the mood to sip on some hot chocolate. In addition to of allowing your plane to stay un-crashed when flying, a little air can also help you get up in it in the first place…a slogan might be something like “get air to get air” or “air begets air”.  I’m talking about pneumatic tools, or air tools. You can find a pneumatic tool for just about anything, and boy do they make taking care of your aircraft a whole lot easier. So, now that Fall is rolling in, save your strength for raking leaves…let the air take car of the rest.

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Get Your Head on Straight

Usually when someone tells you to get your head on straight, it means that you’ve acted inappropriately, made an error in judgment, or your priorities weren’t thought through well enough. That, or the person telling you to do so is just flat out wrong, in which case a swift kick to ear is in order…followed by a tongue lashing along the lines of “why don’t you worry about your own head, your ear in particular, which is currently off.”
With all the negative connotations surrounding that phrase, it’s about time somebody put a good spin on it. And who better than SkyGeek? So from here on out, we will interpret getting your head on straight to mean “taking care of your head.” That’s a lot less hostile, and nobody has to lose an ear.
When I think of taking care of my squash, I think of three things. Wearing a helmet when necessary, getting my hair cut, and making sure I have a comfortable, convenient, functioning headset. I’m not a storm trooper, so I can’t help you any helmets. I’m not a barber, so unless you want your head shaved…I can’t help you there either. What I can help you with is making sure your aviation headset is comfortable, convenient and in full working order.
So, my fellow SkyGeeks, here’s some quality headset gear to help you get your head on straight!  

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The End is (not) Near!

The Year 2010 is right around the corner, which means many things. It means that it will have been 11 years since “The Artist Formally Known as Prince” stopped partying. It means my 2009 New Years resolution to start learning how to play the piano will have officially failed miserably. It means that we’re only two years away from people freaking out about the world coming to an end because they’re misconstruing ancient calendar structures such as that of the Mayans (Note: some people say these calendars predict the end of the world, when they actually state the end of a long count time cycle based on precessions…but hey, the axis of the Earth will shift….so who knows).

The year 2010 also just looks and sounds more cool and futuristic than 2009 doesn’t it?  Especially when you say twenty-ten instead of two thousand and ten…and use a deep science fiction movie voice. “In the year twenty-ten, aloof robots will cater to your every whim, cars will fly…finally, humans will stop having to relieve themselves…which in a twist of irony will be reliving to them, and breakfast will begrudgingly make itself.”

Yes, there’s a lot to look forward to, and a lot of fun to be had in 2010. And how better to keep track of it all than with a cool new aviation calendar! We just got some great 2010 aviation calendars in stock, you can check them out here.

It’s really never too early to pick up a new calendar, I mean, the dates aren’t going to change now are they. I might be a regular piano playing Mozart if I had some time in advance to plot out my resolution strategy on my 2009 calendar…..starting with ”January 4th – Buy a piano…no seriously…I know I’m just words on a calendar date that you put here, but listen to yourself and buy the freaking piano.”

Here’s a few of the new 2010 calendars to choose from:

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Mr. Miyagi Knows Best

Doubt Not His Knowledge

Regardless of how old Mr. Miyagi was, he was wise beyond his years. Because he did not have time in the Karate Kid to explain the intricacies of space-time as related to the quantum dynamics of “String Theory”, he introduced us to the concept of “Wax On” and “Wax Off”.

If you remember, Mr. Miyagi taught “Daniel Son” defensive martial arts tactics by making him wax every car in his driveway (which to this day I’m trying to figure out how Miyagi could afford all of them). Some may say that Miyagi was just trying to get his cars shined up on the cheap. Others, including myself, say that Mr. Miyagi is a stoic genius who mastered the art of killing two birds with one stone…in addition to mastering the undemonstrated art of killing non-bird entities at will (you know he could have). Plus, the proof is in the pudding; you judge a tree by the fruits it produces etc. Under Mr. Miyagi’s tutelage, Daniel went from being a scrawny wuss to a young man who won a martial arts championship on one leg.

And it’s all thanks to waxing. In honor of Mr. Miyagi and his time tested life success techniques, this week we thought we’d spotlight some waxing products….good for making your aircraft look great…and for winning adolescent karate tournaments.

Here’s some items that would make the man proud:

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And The Winner Is…


On the SkyGeek hotline, we’ve been getting a lot of questions about which aviation battery charger we recommend. After talking with everyone about what exactly they’re looking for, overwhelmingly we find that our number 1 recommendation is BatteryMINDer for quality and price… on a consistent basis.

Since we’ve been getting a lot of inquiries, we thought we’d send out a little re-MIND-er email (that’s your cue to call me corny – and be correct in doing so) about the BatteryMINDer review done by Aviation Consumer.

Aviation Consumer gave two thumbs up to VDC BatteryMINDer battery chargers and you can actually read the full Aviation Consumer review here (it’s a PDF).
Before we started carrying BatteryMINDer, we did our due diligence to ensure that we were offering everyone a quality product. The Aviation Consumer seal of approval made us even more proud to bring them to you at such a low price.

So pop open a drink, pour one out for your homie Deltran, and drink the emergence of your aircraft battery’s new best friend. To pick up a VDC BatteryMINDer you can go to our BatteryMINDer Page. Or you can jump like “House of Pain” to a specific model by following the links below.

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How Awesome is This?

Answer: Really Awesome.

I was dancing around the internet looking for some cool aircraft photos and came across the following image. Obviously I had to click into the site to find out more. Turns out this aircraft is a fully functional to-scale model built by 4 guys for a U.K. television series. Here are all the juicy details and a few more photos: “The four builders are shown in the image above. Colin Straus, the owner, is at the nose of the aircraft. This 1/9th scale radio-controlled C-17 model was built in the United Kingdom . It was built as the centerpiece of a 15 program television series produced in the U.K. for the Home and Leisure satellite TV channel. Built with the aid of three friends, it took one year to build and is powered with 4 Jetcat P-120 turbines with a total thrust of 108 lbs. The model weighs over 250 lbs fueled, and carries 12.5 liters (3.3 US gallons) of 95% kerosene and 5% turbine oil fuel. Other details include 5 Futaba PCM receivers, 16 battery packs (93 cells ), 20 Futaba servos, on board air compressor, electro/pneumatic retracts, etc. Wingspan is 20 feet 8 inches, and the top of the fin is 74 inches (6 feet 2 inches) above! the ground. Takeoff weight is 264 lbs. The rear cargo doors open and they drop an r/c jeep on a pallet, as well as 2 free-fall r/c parachutists. The model also has smoke systems both of the inboard turbines, and uses a 2.4 GHz data link to provide real-time data to a laptop computer on the ground while in flight. This data includes airspeed, turbine RPM , EGT, fuel consumption, etc. Built mainly from balsa and ply, with many glass and carbon fiber moldings to reduce weight. It is covered in fiberglass and epoxy resin. This C-17 Globe Master III is one of the largest jet models in the world today! Complete with retractable landing gear and pneumatically operated flaps.”


Pretty sweet huh? I love to build one for myself, but I don’t think I have the engineering prowess to incorporate 4 Jetcat P-120 turbines into a fully-functional-flying work of art. I’ll stick to the full sized flying work of art that I have…and worry about keeping it fully functional. If you’re like me and you’re going to take on the task of building your own turbines, the only thing left to do is make sure you take care of them. If you run an aviation repair shop or just maintain your own private aircraft, you know that turbine care starts with quality turbine engine oil. To stock up, check out the [ utm_source=cc&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=2009-07-31-Newsletter] Turbine Oil page for great deals on 24 quart cases. If you’ve already found your preferred brand / oil type you can go directly to it by clicking through the links below.

Air BP 2380 Oil Turbine Engine & Accessory Oil (24 Quart Case)

Mobil Jet Oil II Turbine Engine Oil (24 Quart Case), Mil-PRF-23699

AeroShell® Turbine Oil 500 (24 Quart Case)

AeroShell® Turbine Oil 555 (24 Quart Case)

AeroShell® Turbine Oil 560 (24 Quart Case)

AeroShell® Turbine Oil 750 (12 Ea.-1 Liter Cans)

That’s it for this week everyone, hope you enjoyed the “cool find pass-along”.
Take care!

Soul Plane

In 2004, a movie came out entitled “Soul Plane.” Having a NetFlix account with unlimited rentals, I decided to go against both my sanity and better judgment and rent it. My love for aviation won out against my love for avoiding horrible movies, as it did previously with “Snakes on a Plane” (for dignity’s sake I must note that I’m a movie buff and my true taste should in no way be confused with the mention of these two movies…upon penalty of death.) The movie stars Tom Arnold and Snoop Dogg and basically fails miserably in its attempt to be anywhere close to funny. I want to say it follows a similar plot to that of the movie “Airplane”, but that would be blasphemy, so forget I mentioned it.

Rather than turn it off, I decided to keep an eye out for movie mistakes. That didn’t last too long because I fell asleep for half of it. To quench my own curiosity, I did however look up some mistakes and found that the center console of the plane had three thrust levers despite the fact that it was a Boeing 747 having 4 engines. There, I just eliminated any lingering reason you may have had for watching the movie.

Anyway, I could write up a “99 Thesis” on why this movie stinks and nail it to Snoop Dogg’s door, but let’s turn our focus toward the real Soul of a Plane…the engine.
Soul maintenance for your aircraft falls on you, but it is a mutually beneficial situation. You keep the aircraft running like a dream…it brings you enjoyment, freedom and a sense of overall satisfaction.

Below we’ve provided you with what you need to keep the soul ball rolling. You can view all of our Aircraft Engine Parts & Maintenance products here to find everything you need to maintain a happy engine. For a quick jump to some specific sections, link out from the categories below.

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