Skill is great, but timing also helps. If you're a company with substantial operations in sectors like commercial aerospace or industrial controls, you've got some strong wind at your back. So while I don't mean to talk down United Technologies' (NYSE:UTX) strong second-quarter performance, it should be viewed in the context of these helpful tailwinds.

Revenue for the giant conglomerate came in 10% higher this time around, with organic growth clocking in at 8%. Margins improved once again, and operating income increased 17% over last year's level. Just as good, nearly every operating unit shared in the growth.

It probably won't be a big surprise that the company's aviation-oriented businesses like Pratt & Whitney and Hamilton Sundstrand did well, and both posted solid growth in revenue and operating income. Results in the Sikorsky helicopter business weren't all that great, and the performance at Carrier was hampered by a slower-than-expected production ramp of new products, but the Otis division made a respectable showing for itself.

Of course it's worth asking how long this can all go on. After all, even though United Technologies' management raised guidance in the wake of this result, it won't go on forever. Well, Boeing (NYSE:BA) is still experiencing rising orders, and there should be at least a few more years of good business in the commercial aviation market. On the commercial construction side, things aren't as clear -- some companies say that business is picking up, others say that they haven't seen any real improvement.

For now, though, it's clear that aviation is strong: We saw that from General Electric (NYSE:GE) and Eaton (NYSE:ETN), and I'd expect to see improvement at Honeywell (NYSE:HON) and maybe Goodrich (NYSE:GR) as well. Unfortunately, United Technologies' stock isn't priced at what I'd call a bargain level. If I'm going to buy into a cyclical industrial conglomerate, I want to be buying dollars for $0.80 apiece.

I get that this could be a prolonged cycle for both aerospace and commercial building. I also get that there's money to be made in businesses like fire and security (where United Technologies competes with Tyco (NYSE:TYC)) and plenty of potential growth in Asia. But unless and until I can get a bargain, I don't see the reason to bump this high-quality conglomerate any higher on my watch list.

For more related Foolishness:

Chat with investors interested in Tyco, an Inside Value pick, when you take a free trial to the newsletter and check out its discussion board.

Fool contributor Stephen Simpson has no financial interest in any stocks mentioned (that means he's neither long nor short the shares).