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To: The Passengers

[fa icon='calendar'] Jun 21, 2018 10:07:25 PM / by Avery Oetjen posted in Insider, blog

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Today I thought we would do a little something different. Rather than writing a blog for the person sitting in the pilot’s seat, I thought I would write something for the people sitting in the passenger seat or in the back, this one is for y’all. In all honesty, I don’t know a whole lot about the in’s and the out’s of aviation, but what I do know is how it has impacted my life heavily over the last seven or eight years. What I also know very well, is what it feels like to be the person sitting in the passenger seat or in the back of the plane not really knowing what’s going on, but hoping that everything is alright. For those of you who don’t know me - Hi my name is Avery Oetjen; I am the Marketing Coordinator at Sparkchasers and I am also the oldest daughter of Ron and Jenna Oetjen, who most of you know very well. My dad, Ron Oetjen, is a pilot just like our customers at Sparkchasers and our family has been involved in aviation for a while. See, my dad is a man that is always looking for his next challenge, the next thing that he can learn, the next thing that he can get better at - so about 5 years ago, he set his mind to getting his pilot’s licence and his instrument rating. We were all kind of excited about it - who doesn’t want to avoid having our schedules heavily dominated by Delta Airlines, being patted down because you had a pair of tweezers in your carry-on, and buying $12 bottles of water at the airport. My dad used to fly commercially all the time for business and he was gone a lot longer than he should have been because of it. After he became a pilot, what used to be 4 day trips to Ohio turned into overnight trips. What used to be a 12 hour drive turned into a 3.5 hour flight, and not a flight dictated by Delta, a flight dictated by us and our schedule. That changed everything. General Aviation allows pilots and families the freedom to be on their own schedule, that is what’s so amazing about it.

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Is it Time To Get Connected?

[fa icon='calendar'] Jun 11, 2018 2:14:13 PM / by Ron Oetjen posted in Avionics, Transponders, vlog

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Is it time to get connectivity in your aircraft?  This blog focuses on Bluetooth connectivity from your mobile devices to your avionics equipment.  We show you one of the simple solutions on the market that people are using.  If we want to modernize your aircraft with connectivity, you should watch this vlog!

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VLOG: Electronic Flight Instruments

[fa icon='calendar'] May 10, 2018 7:46:54 PM / by Ron Oetjen posted in vlog

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Are you thinking about replacing some of your old analog instruments with the new electronic flight instruments?  In this vlog, we discuss the Garmin G5 and the Aspen E5, and then we go flying so we can fail the Garmin G5 while in flight.  Check it out!

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VLOG: Digital Auto-Pilot Reviews

[fa icon='calendar'] Apr 20, 2018 8:28:56 PM / by Ron Oetjen posted in Auto-pilot

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Are you trying to figure out all these new digital auto-pilots that have hit the market in the last 12 months?  Sparkchaser devoted this video to talking about three of the more popular options including the Garmin GFC 500, the Garmin GFC 600, and the S-TEC 3100.  Think we missed the TruTrak Vizion in our review?  Think again, because we'll have a video on that auto-pilot soon.  

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Cyber Threats to Aircraft?

[fa icon='calendar'] Mar 25, 2018 4:00:43 PM / by Ron Oetjen posted in Avionics, cyber security, Terrorism

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One of the most trending topics in the world today is Cyber Security and/or Cyber Terror. Hacking and cyber exploits have been around for a very long time, but the sophistication of these attacks are what scares me. We’re not talking about hacking someone’s Facebook account or illegally gaining access to their computer so you can watch the camera built-in to the computer. We’re talking about State sponsored, foreign and domestic, cyber attacks as a primary means of combat or terror. Let’s face it, it hasn’t been long since the US allegedly used the Stuxnet attack as a “cyber weapon” against the control systems of Iranian nuclear power plants. We now live in a cyber world and we should all be be concerned about Cyber Security because these exploits are very common and the entire world is worried about them.

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Good, Cheap, and Fast

[fa icon='calendar'] Mar 19, 2018 11:09:58 AM / by Jenna Oetjen posted in Avionics, Aircraft Maintenance, blog

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I took my very first trip to an Aldi’s grocery store a couple of weeks ago. For years, I have had friends that have sworn by their value and convenience as a grocery store, but I have never taken the time to see for myself. Once I did, it got me thinking about the choices and trades that we all make when it comes to, not only grocery stores, but all things commerce related. Harris Teeter for example, is a completely different shopping experience than Aldi. The store is bigger, the aisles are wider, there is a wide selection of products, not to mention, the beautiful fresh flowers, fruits and vegetable displays, but if you go on a Sunday afternoon, you might have to wait 20 minutes or more at the deli counter before you can get your sliced meat or cheese. Aldi on the other hand is small, you don’t see any brand names, you must pay money for a cart, they don’t give shopping bags -you bring your own or you carry out your items in your hand. You don’t get all the ambiance at Aldi, but you save money and you can be in and out fairly quickly. You are going to pay more at Harris Teeter, but you have more choices. What occurs to me, is Harris Teeter doesn’t apologize for being Harris Teeter. They offer what they offer to the market and the consumer decides if Harris Teeter is a good fit for them. If, as a consumer, you are looking for fast and cheap…. Harris Teeter wouldn’t be your choice, Aldi would be a better fit.

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General Aviation Maintenance Concerns

[fa icon='calendar'] Mar 11, 2018 4:31:13 PM / by Ron Oetjen posted in Aircraft Maintenance, blog

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I talk to aircraft owners on a daily basis about installations and maintenance for their aircraft and I’d be remiss if I didn’t say that I often walk away from those conversations with concerns. I love aviation and I’m excited for everyone who gets to experience general aviation, but when you experience what I experience everyday in a FAA Part 145 Repair Station, it’s hard not to admit my concerns. Most of the time, I just decide to take the “mind my own business” approach and never say anything about stuff like this, but the past week this has just been on my mind, so I decided to start blogging.

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VLOG: The Blooper Reel

[fa icon='calendar'] Feb 27, 2018 7:08:16 PM / by Ron Oetjen posted in Avionics, Sparkchasers, vlog, Boondoggle, Malarkey

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So, this week we give you absolutely no educational value in our VLOG.   If you are looking for educational content, this weeks VLOG is not it.  We decided to put together a blooper reel just for fun.  We hope you enjoy it!

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VLOG: Garmin GFC 500 Digital Auto-Pilot

[fa icon='calendar'] Feb 14, 2018 7:56:14 PM / by Ron Oetjen posted in GFC 500, vlog, Garmin, blog

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This episode of "Making Airplanes Better" focuses on something that many people what to talk about or have questions about right now...the new Garmin GFC 500 digital auto-pilot.  Information is all over the board when it comes to this product and we attempt to sort out some of those questions for you.  We hope you enjoy and leave comments or questions.  
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VLOG: Can You Say Malarkey?

[fa icon='calendar'] Feb 14, 2018 7:46:19 PM / by Ron Oetjen posted in Sparkchasers, vlog, blog, Malarkey

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Here we go again with an interesting word and this week it is malarkey.  We've got some malarkey going on at the shop this week and the Piper Cherokee is finally moving along.  Check it out and let us know what you think!

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