Goulet Q&A Episode 83: Cleaning Ink Off Nibs, Cake vs. Pie, and Best FP Country

Goulet Q&A is now available as an audio podcast! Click here  for the RSS feed to use in your podcast app of choice, or click here for a direct download.

Thanks for stopping by to watch Goulet Q&A Episode 83! I’m talking about our new Cross products as well as the exciting nib offerings for the Pilot Vanishing Point. I’m covering my view on our business growth, how we choose the inks for Ink Drop, and what country makes the best fountain pens. Stay tuned for an exciting new installment of Goulet Q&A!New/Upcoming Products – (1:34)

Pens/Writing – (2:51)
1) Yunus S.- Facebook – (3:01)
I watched your video on how to travel on an airplane safely. But as a pilot I am curious to learn your recommendation if I try to use the pen for our paper work on it?

  • in general, when flying if you keep your nib pointed up, it’ll eliminate just about all problems
  • from talking to other pilots, the time you really want to avoid writing with a pen on a plane is from takeoff to about 6,000ft altitude
  • once the cabin pressure is stabilized after takeoff, you’re pretty much safe
  • descent is perfectly fine, go nuts
  • consider a TWSBI Vac 700 or Pilot (pun!) Custom 823, they are vac fillers and close off the ink chamber
2) Po L. – Facebook – (8:36)
How to swipe off the ink on the surface of the nib after filling from a bottle ink? Whenever I swipe the excess ink with paper towel, it will draw ink to the surface again. Is it ok to let ink stays on the surface of the nib?
  • this is just nib creep, and is purely aesthetic
  • if it’s coming up with wiping, it’s just a sign that your pen loves you
  • it’s perfectly okay to stay there!
  • some people are weirded out by nib creep, I actually like it because it tells me when a pen is inked up, and what color (approximately) it is!
3) Kevin L. -Facebook – (10:54)
When a pen comes with a warranty whether is it 1 year or up to a lifetime warranty, is it ever worth violating that warranty to take the pen apart to do some extra cleaning or whatever? TWSBI encourages tinkering and with a Jinhao or similar brands that is not a concern. I have seen various videos on how to take apart the upper priced pens and they all come with a warning about warranties being voided if you try this at home. What is your opinion on this?

  • any warranty is only as good as whoever’s standing behind it
  • it’ll vary from one manufacturer to another
  • most companies have some kind of warranty, though it usually varies and often costs at least shipping to get there/back
  • given the shipping cost and wait time, it’s often a judgement call when it’s worth your time and effort to do a warranty return to a manufacturer
Paper – (20:43)
4) Emily H. – Facebook – (20:46)

I am interested in the hobonichi which uses tomoe river paper I was wondering what are the advantages and disadvantages of using tomoe river paper?

  • I haven’t used hobonichi before, personally
  • Tomoe River is really thin, and handles ink exceptionally well, especially with feathering and bleeding
  • get crazy sheens from your sheeny inks
  • disadvantage, limited formats available
  • very thin, so more ghosting/see-through on the back of the page
  • many inks/nibs you can’t use the other side easily
Ink – (23:00)
5) Ricky J. -Facebook – (23:04)
What dark blue inks with sheen do you suggest for use on average paper? (hilroy paper in canada….one that goes in the binders)

6) Fred R.- Facebook – (25:25)
Based strictly on color, I feel that there aren’t too many inks that I find must buys because I have that particular color or another brand of ink that is very close.  There are some inks that will stay in my collection for as long as they are made but I haven’t seen anything lately, in any price range, that is different enough for me to try. Do you think there is room for any more distinctive colors in fountain pen inks?

  • 600ish colors definitely covers pretty much the full gamut
  • what you start to get into is ink colors distinguishing from each other beyond just color shade, but more into properties
  • dry time, flow, shading, permanence/waterproofness, sheen, feathering, bleeding, etc
  • J. Herbin Stormy Grey is a good example…it’s a grey ink, there are plenty of those, but with a gold sheen in it, it becomes very unique and incredibly popular
  • so yes, I really do think there is room for more, if companies look to push the envelope a bit
7) ‏@TheRealJackieMa – Twitter – (30:09)
Is Noodler’s Black Eel similar to Noodler’s Black, with the additional lubrication? If so, why isn’t it a top recommended Ink?

  • that’s literally the difference between these two inks
  • the “eel” lubricant is for piston pens to help self-lubricate, the wetter flow in a pen is a byproduct of that
  • there are pros and cons of added lubricants, pros are wetter flow and self-lubrication for pen parts
  • cons are longer dry time and more nib creep, more propensity for feathering and bleeding
  • Noodler’s Black is pretty wet as it is, so most don’t see the need to go to a lubricated version
8) Matthew M. – Facebook – (33:31)
Is the pH of ink in modern formulations something I should consider?  If so, is it more of a concern for archiving documents or the health of your pen?
  • technically, sure, pH is something that would be good to be aware of
  • pH in the extremes on either end isn’t ideal
  • some brands tout pH neutrality like Noodler’s (conventional line), but most don’t say boo about it
  • given the lack of info available from manufacturers it makes it really tough to have it be a major factor in your ink buying
Business – (37:53)
9) John S. – Facebook – (38:03)
How do you choose the inks for the ink drop? Why are there often German inks in the drop?

  • we’re on our 58th drop right now, averaging 5 samples per drop that’s over 290 inks we’ve used so far, with remarkably few repeats
  • we decided a few months ago to strategically repeat colors, after pulling some info about membership and the likelihood of people actually receiving repeats
  • we settled on using no repeats within two years
  • to select, it’s a group effort that starts with the theme and we pick a number of inks to fit it with many backups
  • we’ll often go off of the color range of a theme, try to work in the ink names if there’s anything interesting
  • inventory (getting enough ink) is always an issue, so we have to plan months in advance to make sure we’re going to have enough
  • once we actually physically have it in our possession, we lock in the colors, design and get the cards printed up, and start sampling! We usually only sample in the month leading up to a drop
  • German inks usually end up there because we carry a lot of German inks!
  • De AtramentisRohrer and Klingner, Lamy, Pelikan, Super5, Faber-Castell, Kaweco…145 inks in all, about 1/4 of all the ink we carry comes from Germany!
  • plus De Atramentis has fantastic names for theming
10) Patrick D. – Facebook – (48:20)
How much would you like to grow Goulet?  Is there a size for your business that you see as ideal?  Where do you see the tipping point at which the size of Goulet makes the personal, hands-on style that you have build impractical?

  • our initial dream was for Rachel and I to both draw a paycheck, “employees” were not on our radar in the first year
  • eventually, we realized it was inevitable and embraced it
  • we’ve been kind of led by the growth of our business for the first 3-4 years, then started getting more intentional
  • growth has never been our focus, except to meet the level of service that we feel we’ve needed to offer
  • we don’t have a specific size in mind, as in number of team members or customers or revenue
  • for us, it’s more about keeping the personal feel, our purpose statement is “To prove that business can be personal”
  • our hands-on style was impractical around 7 people, we moved our business out of our house, had a toddler and newborn, lots of product knowledge we had to pass on to people who were newly hired and knew nothing about pens
  • so many things about what we do are impractical, there’s a reason why you don’t see others doing what we do, it’s not that it’s anything magical we’ve figured out, it’s just hard!
Personal – (1:04:28)
11) David S. – Facebook – (1:04:29)
Which country in your opinion makes the best fountain pens presently. United States, Germany, Japan, China, and India just to name a few that come to mind for me.

  • “best” is subjective
  • the US really isn’t making many fountain pens these days, aside from a couple of small household operations (though their quality is good)
  • it’d be a toss-up between Germany and Japan for me, the pens coming from these countries are really different, and wonderful in their own right
12) Patrick D. – Facebook – (1:07:24)
What’s the latest cake vs. pie tally? …Pie Rules!
  • ah yes! did survey a few Q&A’s back on how to publish slices (feedback was pretty split)
  • snuck in a cake vs. pie question in there, mainly because the Goulet team has gone way pie-heavy lately
  • I’m proud to say it was 55% cake, 45% pie! Cake rules!! We should all celebrate, and what better way to celebrate than with cake.
13) Julia L. -Facebook – (1:10:11)

I read in a Canadian press article that Robert Goulet is a member of Brian’s family. Has Brian ever been in contact with the actor and singer?

  • He is indeed my 7th cousin once removed
  • I emailed him when I was 12 telling him of our somewhat distant relation, and heard back weeks later when he mailed me a personalized autographed headshot
  • what a classy guy!
Troubleshooting – (1:16:57)
14) George G. – Facebook – (1:17:01)
Why do eyedroppers have a tendency to blurp out ink from time to time but piston fillers don’t?

  • it all has to do with pressure, the higher the pressure in the pen the more burping you’ll see
  • increased pressure comes from heat buildup (often from your hand while you’re writing)
  • eyedropper pens almost always have higher ink capacities, and when the ink level gets below half, you might see burping start
  • where the pen rests in the crook of your hand (where the most heat comes from) is right on the air pocket in an eyedropper fill, but is behind the piston seal in a piston pen
  • that’s my theory!
QOTW: Do you have any cool memorabilia signed by someone famous? What is it and how did you come by it? – (1:23:05)Thanks so much for spending time with me this week, I really appreciate it! Be sure to check here if there are any old Q&A’s that you missed.

Write On,
Brian Goulet

2018-01-05T14:19:16+00:00 June 19th, 2015|Goulet Q&A|39 Comments
  • jay moynihan

    Re inks/PH
    Vintage inks for the most part were pen friendly. Of course that is with the exception of ones categorized as iron gall or "indian". The well know exception was (perhaps the Baystate of its day 🙂 ) was Parker's Superchrome inks marketed (then withdrawn) with the Parker 51. Superchrome was supposedly a death sentence for any pen other than the 51, In a FP, one wants to avoid ether extreme in PH,
    PH and archive designations. Generally, in the areas of such things as preservation of documents, books, etc. acid is deadly. That is why archival papers are often made with non-chlorine processes with high cotton or 100% cotton content. Wood based paper contains lignin (the brown in the brown paper bag is from the lignin) which decays and created a slight acid. So high quality (archival) wood based papers have very little lignin. An acidic ink would therefore be contraindicated for longevity.

  • ★ keri ★

    QOTW: I work in a contemporary art museum that has artists visit 3 times a year to install a site-specific project, which lemme tell ya is pretty exciting. I've been developing a tiny collection of signed prints of their work, and even if I'm not particularly a fan of a specific art style, it's really cool to talk to the artist and learn about what they do, just general conversation when I ask for the signature. Sarah Emerson is my favorite – she's from Atlanta and did a promotion with RedBull recently.

    I knew almost nothing about modern art before I began working here, but I've learned so much from these artists! Also, I have a book of Joseph Hughes's work from when he visited while we were featuring one of his paintings, and it is a favorite thing. I had NO IDEA I love "color field" painting until he explained what it is and what he does, and now it's my favorite type of art. His stuff is really cool, particularly. He's always been interested in how the paints and inks get drawn into the paper/canvas/etc. and interact with each other. Relevant to this blog maybe, he had a huge collection of different types of paper back in the 1970s which he would dab ink or watercolors on, to study the way the color bled and the hue/saturation would shift. He ended up doing a lot of series with Japanese rice paper where he'd put drops of watercolor on one edge, then set them up at an angle so they'd bleed down, creating stripes.

  • Freddy

    Brian, thank you for answering my question about new ink colors; your points are well taken. You mention J. Herbin Stormy Grey in your video. It, along with Pilot Iroshizuku Fuyu-Syogun, happen to be one's I'm thinking about. My current favorite is Diamine Grey but I'm looking for something lighter. Noodler's Lexington Gray, which I also own, is just too close to black. Decisions, decisions. LOL. Even though, as you suggested, I could just stay with what I'm happy with, I think we both know the quest is never ending. 😉

    Again, thanks for taking the time to answer the question.

  • ★ keri ★

    @Emily H.:
    If you're familiar with Tumblr, there's a pretty big community of Hobonichi Techo users there, and the translator for the English site answers a lot of questions about the products (not officially, just as a fan and user who is super familiar with it). She also posts people's images of how they use the Techos and if people ask her questions, she'll post them for answers. It's really useful!


    I've been using the A6 size Techo (original) for 2 years now and I originally started with fountain pens, but now use a very fine tip felt marker (Uni something or other). Fountain pen ink takes forever to dry if it even remotely tends towards wet or a large nib, so I got lots of smears when I was doing dense text. And forget about trying to do any layered writing with the fountain pens (crossing out, drawing) – I started looking for water-resistant inks and ended up going with the felt-tip for large blocks of text or outline drawing, because even if the ink was perfectly dry, the new lines would wet it up again for more smearing. The other negative is that the A6 size and the grids are fairly tiny, so you have to write tiny to fit a lot on the page, and that's not always easy with fountain pens. I can also write a little smaller when my pen is perpendicular to the page, which means the felt-tip is better there. You might have a different experience/penmanship style.

    On the positive sides, the paper shows off colors beautifully. Show-through and bleeding really haven't been problems for me, even when my standard ink was Diamine Eclipse on both sides of the page (using a Japanese F nib). There's some shadowing, but nowhere near as bad as when I used a Pilot G-2 in a Moleskine!

    I've used all kinds of nib+ink combinations with my Techos, and I do shy away from the wetter, wider nibs, but only because of the dry time.

  • Heath

    I would never have guessed that much planning and coordination went into the monthly Ink Drop. To devote that much time shows how much you take care for your clients. Its convinced me that I need to sign up.
    The company I work for has regular book clubs where we read and discuss these business "self help" books. We just finished Turn the Ship Around! by L David Marquet. If you've not read this one, I suggest you put it on your list. Of all the ones we've read, I enjoyed it the most. I will even send you my copy.
    Take care,

  • Rodrigo Kezen Leite

    Just out of curiosity, I can use a NIB #6 Goulet in this pen?

  • Mike Winn

    Question: In your great love of cake, Brian, where is your appreciation centered in the continuum between the light and fluffy (e.g. angel food) and the heavy and stuffed (e.g. fruitcake)? To contain your enthusiasms, you might ignore for the moment the "container cakes" (i.e. filled with pudding).

  • jaydeep patel
  • Eva Yaa Asantewaa

    Cake. And I'd been wondering about a Bob Goulet connection! I'm old enough (early '60s) to remember his TV and Broadway heydays! He was wonderful, and so was your story. Greetings from the train from Munich to Berlin! It's a 6-hour ride, and you video has helped me pass some of the time. Thanks!

  • David

    I just visually compared a Platinum 3776 Century (SF NIB) with a Bexley Intrepid that has a Goulet #6 nib. The Goulet nib looks a bit too big to fit in the 3776. A modern #6 nib fits a 6mm diameter feed. The 3776 feed is about 5.5mm in diameter (measured with a slide caliper). The Goulet #6 in the Intrepid extends 23mm from the section, the 3776 nib extends 22mm. The Goulet #6 is 8.7mm wide at the shoulders while the 3776 is 8.6mm. So the length and shoulder width of the two nibs are quite similar. This bodes well for the #6 nib being compatible with the Platinum 3776 spring-loaded "Slip-N-Seal" cap liner; without damaging the liner and/or the nib (hint: Be Careful). But I think the #6 nib is about 0.5mm too wide to fit in the 3776 section – at least without some form of modification. In similar fashion, an after-market #5 Bock or Jowo nib would be a half-millimeter too small to fit in the 3776, which makes me wonder if that is "incompatibility by design" from Platinum. Keep in-mind, I did not physically try to swap my nibs, so YMMV. Why would you want to swap a nice Platinum 14K nib with a steel Goulet-branded #6 Jowo nib in the first place? The Goulet #6 is still a nice nib mind-you, but why swap? Have Fun, David

  • Mike P.

    Hi Brian, I appreciate that you are moving into the rollerball market. I, like most of your customers, prefer fountain pens, but rollerballs have their place. I especially have been using gel inks whenever I can. I recently discovered Visconti Parker-style gel refills; on the right paper, these inks can come close (but not exactly) to the sheen and flow qualities (with even some shading) of fountain pen inks. I know that Parker-style refills are mostly used in ball-type pens, but some rollerball pens (e.g, Delta Vintage) can use these refills. Also, there are converter kits available that can allow the Parker-style gel refills to be used in standard rollerball pens. I guess my point is that there are ways to match some nice inks with rollerballs beyond the standard fare! – Mike

  • Starchix

    QOTW: I have a Yamaha C3 grand piano that was signed by Count Basie. In 1978 or thereabouts, he came to our town to do a fund raiser for our local community college. Being young and trusting, and a new employee of the college, I agreed to loan my piano for the event, which was to be held at a local resort, in a tent! (I still can't believe I went for it.)

    Although I knew nothing about jazz at the time, had in essence never even heard of Count Basie (I was and am a classical music nerd), I was given complimentary tickets to the event, and went with my husband. I went more to keep an eye on my piano than to hear the music, and it was a good thing I was there! The deal was that people paid big money to attend, then listened to music, danced, and naturally, drank like fish. I spent the entire evening sitting in a chair three feet away from my piano (and the Count), guarding my piano from increasingly drunken idiots. Every few minutes someone would lurch by, stopping briefly to deposit their half full glass of booze on the piano …. and I would leap up and take it off!

    But in the course of the evening, I observed and listened and became quite fond of the Count. He was quite elderly by then, and didn't actually play all that much. The bass player was obviously the only other member of the original band, and he and the Count basically sat back and chatted, while the younger members of the band rocked it on. Every now and then the Count would perk up his ears, lean forward and chime in with his patented "chink… chink" chords, and the bass player would strum a few notes. Then they would settle back to their relaxed evening.

    At the break, my husband stepped up and asked the Count if he would sign my piano (I was far too shy to do it myself), and the Count looked over and smiled at me, took the Sharpie pen I had brought along, and signed the piano. At the time, I thought 'big deal, I've never even heard of this guy' and wished I had gotten the signature of some big name classical pianist. But in the years since I have learned a lot more about the Count (and the Duke) and other greats, and am appreciative of my autograph.

    Sadly, I now need to sell this piano, as we are downsizing and I won't have room for a grand in my new house. Someone is going to get a very nice piano with a cool signature. Special memories go with it!

  • elaine

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jacques_Goulet#Notable_Descendants Brian, it looks like Justin Bieber is one of your cousins too! 😉

  • Kjervin

    I think the Platinum nibs are flatter (less rounded) than a standard #6 nib and are generally known to be proprietary, so it will probably not be a straight drop in. David is also correct in that they generally write well (I have tried 4 examples and all are very nice writers) so unless you just like to tinker, I might see if you like them as they are before I started down the road to modification. Having used both, it would not seem to me to be an improvement in performance, although it could be one in personal preference if you prefer how the Goulet nib writes (and they are also very good performers and I like them as well).

  • Tom Johnson

    My Platinum 3776 Century Bourgogne pen is one of my favorite pens of all time. A poster on Fountain Pen Network who has studied the stained glass windows in the Chartres cathedral said that the translucent resin in this Chartres Blue pen matches the blue in the stained glass windows of the cathedral perfectly. Platinum's nibs are wonderful, and this pen feels and writes perfect for me.

  • Tom Johnson

    Some acids do not stay in the paper. Some do. Acetic acid evaporates, so does carbonic acid. I don't think any commercial inks today will affect the life of pure cotton or linen paper, or any paper of archival grade. We have a small document written in 1806 on paper (paper did not come from trees until latter part of 1800's, so this old rag paper is naturally archival grade). Obviously written with a quill pen. Some of the ink was very heavy where the writer had just dipped the quill. There is no evidence of this acid iron gall ink damaging the paper at all. But, some of the iron gall inks in the past have damaged the rag papers as their formulation was never consistent between manufacturers.

  • Tom Johnson

    I have a book autographed twice by a favorite author, Jack McDevitt. I was at a convention and when I heard he was there I rushed to a seller and bought a book of his I already had. When I handed it to him to sign he said "I've already signed this!" I did not know I'd bought a signed copy in my rush. He signed it again to me. That was some 20 something years ago.

  • sara

    Have you considered carrying Callifolio inks?

  • Madigan

    Hi Rodrigo! Like they said below, Platinum nibs are proprietary. The nib has a square cut out at the back that fits into the feed, so you wouldn't be able to swap out the nib even if it was the exact same size. Hope that helps! 🙂

  • Madigan

    What a fun fact regarding the cathedral! I'm glad you enjoy your 3776. They are great pens! 🙂

  • haha, wow okay. Actually, there's a lot of singers/actors on there! How about that. Clearly I've missed my calling 😉

  • Wow, what a story! I'm sure you win the contest for the largest autographed memorabilia 😉 Thanks so much for sharing, I'm sorry you have to part with it though.

  • Thanks Mike! I had more of a knowledge of rollerballs before I got into fountain pens, so it's coming a little full circle for me. I of course still prefer fountain pens 99% of the time for myself, but I've been asked about rollerballs enough where I thought it was worth dipping my toes in the water. And yeah, there are some cross-compatibilities to take advantage of with different refills, so that'll be fun to explore!

  • Nice! Cake all the way. Yeah, Robert was a classy guy all the way.

  • Mmmm…I'm getting hungry just thinking about all these different types of cake 😉 Really there's no wrong type of cake, though I'd have to say I am probably somewhere in the middle, maybe leaning a little towards heavy. I love things like chocolate ganache and devil's food, so that type of stuff. And flavored filling too…my favorite was what Rachel and I had as one of the tiers of our cake at our wedding (devil's food and chocolate ganache with a raspberry filling, MMM!!).

  • Thanks Heath! Yeah, Ink Drop takes a pretty incredible amount of planning, it's a minor miracle we pull it off every month 😉 Thanks for the book suggestion, I'll have to check that one out!

  • Starchix

    Yes, in my next lifetime I plan to play a much smaller instrument — say, concert harp or standup bass! LOL

  • That's awesome feedback Keri, thanks so much for sharing that and providing the link. I'll have to look a little closer into Hobonichi.

  • Haha, that is true, the journey is the reward in this hobby 🙂 I think you'd like Fuyu-Syogun, give that one a try. Lexington would probably be a little dark for your liking.

  • Thanks Jay! This is helpful info, I appreciate you sharing your expertise. I still have much to learn in this area.

  • Thanks Tom! Yeah, that's a good point, especially about the lack of consistency.

  • I'd looked into it a number of years ago. I know they're made by a retailer in France, so I don't think there is worldwide distribution. I remember hearing about it 3-4 years ago and not much since.

  • Haha, so now you have two copies of the same book, one of which is signed twice! That's pretty funny Tom, and a cool story.

  • sara

    oh okay. I saw that Vanness in Arkansas is carrying them, along with Kobe and Bung Box inks. they look really beautiful. I'm not sure they have worldwide distribution but I think they do discounts for large orders so that selling them and making a profit is possible. It'd be awesome to be able to get them from you.

  • Katie J

    My husband and I have had the opportunity to meet several "famous actors" over the past several years, we are super nerds and attend various conventions and shows. But the coolest autograph In my collection is one that I found in my grandmothers recipe file that I inherited after she died. I found this odd little card that looked like an autograph, I researched it and asked my mom, about it, She told me "Yes, Grandma did meet Henry Fonda, she thought that autograph was lost" I love older movies and am a fan of much of his work so pretty cool thing to inherit, totally by accident. Love your blog, videos and your company!

  • Adam Hopkins

    I have a wooden block painted with Beaver Stadium signed by Joe Paterno. I won it from the library when I was young. The signature is fading though…

    I have a question for next week: I'm thinking about buying my first gold nib pen to celebrate graduation/first career job. I'm between the Pilot VP and the Lamy 2000. The click action of the VP feels like it's the more practical choice, but I just love the look of the Lamy 2000. The VP seems like the right head decision, but the Lamy feels like the right heart decision. Which one is better for every day use, and could the VP stub be used for everyday use? Thanks Brian!

  • Tom Johnson

    Adam, I have both and I cannot give you an answer. I love them and often use both daily. I know the VP stub will be useful for everyday use, as it is only about a 1mm stub. I often use a 1.5 mm stub, but have to write larger. I'll get the VP stub nib assembly for my two VP's. But, I do love the Lamy 2000. The Lamy nibs are broader than the Pilot. A Lamy F is a bit wider than my Pilot M. I want to know what Brian says about this! He is so good at getting into the specifics. I will say this, I used a VP daily for 14 years at work and loved its convenience, just pluck it out, click, take notes, click, return. I did not get the 2000 until after I retired two years ago, but I would have used it at work had I had one. Brian: your thoughts?

  • Warren

    I have a baseball signed by Babe Ruth. My grandfather was a medical masseuse, and treated the Babe when he was in a nd around the NY area. So my grandfather asked for an autograph for his son (my father). Dad passed it on to me when I was a late teen. While my family!y is of musicians (I cover first and second tennor) we are also a baseball (Yankees) family as well. This ball has been displayed with pride since my wife and I were married.

  • voretaq7

    Re: flying with fountain pens, I think I've mentioned before that I've had exceptional luck with my Kaweco AlSport – this pen stays in my pocket pretty much all the time, and it's been from sea level (90 feet) to 10,000 feet in unpressurized aircraft with no special treatment and no leaks.
    This is also the pen that went through the washing machine with a full ink cartridge (don't ask): going through the spin cycle emptied the cartridge into the cap, but my clothing remained ink-free so even if it should decide to burp ink it probably won't make a mess in your pocket.

    As for taking notes in flight I can't really comment there: I use a mechanical pencil for copying clearances and such because I can chuck half a dozen of those in my flight bag or around the cockpit and not have to worry about them drying out or leaking.