Who We Are

We’re Australia’s Aviation Show

Plane Crazy Down Under has been producing content since July 2009. The goal of the show is to boost awareness of aviation within the Australia/Pacific region and spread the message to people that flying is fun and achievable. We have built a solid reputation for providing a professional yet relaxed show and our audience is growing steadily.

Each episode usually lasts between 60 to 120 minutes and while some have featured one important interview or discussion, most have multiple segments. Guests on the podcast have included a number of pilots from all aspects of aviation as well as analysts, air traffic controllers, adventurers, business owners and museum staff. Topics and areas covered in the podcast so far range from hot air balloons, recreational flying, warbirds & sport aerobatics through to charter operations, airlines and the military.

Some of our special guests have included Matt Hall, Nigel Lamb, Owen Zupp, Deborah Lawrie, Dick Smith, Jim Whalley, Ben Sandilands & Saj Ahmad. We have also produced special themed episodes covering a single specific topic including Air Traffic Controller training, a B24 bomber restoration project, our Perth Red Bull Air Race coverage and flying in & over Antarctica.

We typically produce an episode about every 1.5 – 2 weeks and each episode is downloaded or listened to from the site by well over 2,000 people while the more popular episodes exceed 8,000 downloads each. Our audience is made up of aviation professionals, enthusiasts and the general public. They are primarily located in Australia & New Zealand (about 75%) the USA & Canada (about 20%) and the balance are from the UK, Asia and other areas.

Check out our favourite episodes then join our audience with episode comments and postings on our forum at Downwind.com.au.

 

 

 

Steve Visscher

A self confessed podcast junkie and lapsed pilot wth a range of ratings in Australia & the United States, Steve currently drives trains for a living and dreams of getting back in the air again just as soon as life stops putting road blocks in his way. He’s studied freelance journalism (but never finished) and is also a former firefighter with the Country Fire Authority in Victoria. He often admits to spending far more time than he should fiddling with computers & other “geek” gadgets, and his “leet mixing skillz” are stretched to the max as he works hard to ensure we sound as coherent, intelligent and witty as possible with each episode.

Steve can be found at his Aus Flier blog and on Twitter as SteveVisscher.

Steve

Grant McHerron (aka Falcon124)

Grant works as in the hot air ballooning industry as office manager, project manager and ground crew with Picture This Ballooning. A perpetual student pilot, Grant has tried a couple of times to get his fixed wing license, his glider pilot’s license and, currently, his balloon license. Each time he gets further into his training, something else comes up and he either relocates around the world or watches his flying money disappear into other causes. Finally being able to link his IT geek with his Aviation Geek, Grant looks after the web site, arranges interviews and generally causes cheeky mischief.

Grant can be found at his Fly Me Friendly blog as well as Falcon124 on Twitter. He also runs the Picture This Ballooning Facebook page and twitter feed.

Grant

David M Vanderhoof – Historian

Skyhawks, Canberras, Boomerangs, oh my!  What’s an American doing on an Aussie Podcast? Answer: Steve and Grant asked.  The rest is (for) history!

David is a trained historian who grew up around military and civilian aircraft.  With a Pacific War Veteran Father, David has always had an interest in all things South Pacific. Growing up it was A-4G’s and DHC-4 Caribous, the Aussies put their Kangaroos on cool aircraft. (And he knows the rat always stands on the fuselage) Ok it’s really about the Scooters:  Kiwi’s, Indonesian’s, Malaysian and Singapore’s.

David started writing for the Airplane Geeks, as their Historian-in-Residence. So it was natural to “Code Share” for the Australia Desk / Plane Crazy Down Under.  David is finally getting to do what he always wanted to do, write and talk airplanes.  David is an avid plastic modeler and reader. You will always find him paging through books looking up some obscure thing, “geeking” out on the latest Sci-Fi, or “chatting” it up with his new blokes 15,000 Km away.

David can be found at his blog “What Just Flew By?”, as @DMVanderhoof on Twitter and of course weekly on The Airplane Geeks Podcast and here on PCDU in our Aviation History segment.

David Vanderhoof

Anthony Simmons

As a self confessed neophyte, Anthony hasn’t let blind ignorance get in the way of making uninformed comments about the aviation industry. Now a train driver after serving a 13 year sentence for crimes against office equipment in, respectively, a bank and cigarette manufacturer, he provides a look at the world of flight from the man in the back of the plane, not the front.

Despite the handicap of gluing the wings upside-down on an Airfix model in his youth, he has successfully managed to learn next to nothing about planes and the associated infrastructure, bar managing to attract the attention of Custom and Immigration in every country he’s ever visited.

Outside of work he enjoys his collection of novelty cufflinks, the avoidance of gardening and playing inappropriate music loudly to annoy his neighbours.

Anthony can be found in the bar of the Long Room at the MCG when cricket is on, trout fishing at Murrindindi on any long weekend and in the general vicinity of a decent bottle of red at most other times. He also supplies our View From the Lounge segment, an occasional view of aviation from the passenger in seat 22A.

Anthony

Ben Ippolito (ATC Ben)

Ben Ippolito (aka ATC Ben) is an Air Traffic Controller from Melbourne. His descent into aviation geekdom began at the age of five when he got a cockpit visit in an Ipec Aviation Armstrong-Whitworth Argosy freighter. Years later not only would he discover that the Argosy was the world’s fugliest aircraft, but set himself the goal of becoming an airline pilot.

In the years after leaving school Ben spent several pouring beers at the local RSL, attained his CPL, IREX, frozen ATPL, Grade 3 Instructor Rating, worked check-in and was a rampy for several airlines and charter operators at Melbourne International Airport (YMML or MEL) rising to airport movement coordinator for Pacific Blue Melbourne and conducting audits for the Compliance Manager of Aero-Care. After leaving Aero-Care Ben completed his MECIR and returned to ground handling, this time for Sharp Airlines at Essendon Airport (YMEN or MEB). Finally he cracked a flying job working an aerial photography contract Sharp held flying Cessna 177’s and 172’s.

After a long flying career of 50 odd hours, Ben traded the cockpit for a console. After 12 months in the Academy as well as several months of simulator and on job training he was awarded an Air Traffic Control licence with an Area Procedural rating, Area Radar rating and several sector endorsements along with a Diploma of Transport & Distribution (Air Traffic Control) on 11th September 2009 (No really). He currently works mostly lower altitude airspace in south eastern Australia.

On the verge of ‘staying current’ in flying, once he has the hours Ben wants to start flying Angel Flights and venture into aerobatics and helicopters some day. But it all depends on where his career takes him, which could possibly be to the other side of the country either virtually or literally!

Ben Ippolito (ATC Ben)

Bas Scheffers

Bas is a recreational pilot based in Adelaide, flying his Evektor SportStar all over the state and beyond. His accent is Dutch and after first finding a suitable visa sponsor (i.e. wife) in London, he moved to Australia in 2007 and took up flying soon after. Lucky for him his wife likes her horses and so has forfeited every right to complain about his expensive hobby. Two years ago he started AeroScene to organise flying trips and social gatherings for pilots in SA.

A computer programmer and entrepreneur by day, the bills get paid by writing websites and iPhone apps for clients. More recently he’s brought OzRunways to Australian pilots and is actively building that business.

Find him on twitter as @basscheffers and you can hear his occasional opinionated contributions on all things recreational and personal flying right here on Plane Crazy Down Under.

Dan Morris

Dan (aka The Grand Vizier) is a B-Category Flight Instructor living and working in Palmerston North, New Zealand. He holds an NZCAA CPL, Multi-engine Instrument Rating, Basic Gas Turbine Rating and Night, IFR and Spinning instructing privileges. After completing flight training in 2004 Dan worked as an Operations Controller for an airline based in Auckland while instructing part time at Ardmore airfield for 4 years before taking up his present position. Also a self-confessed coffee-geek, he can often be found at the airport cafe’s around New Zealand assessing espresso quality (and quantity!).

He has recently taken on the mantle of NZ Correspondent for PCDU.

Anthony Crichton Browne

Anthony is a professional pilot, flying for a major airline, with a wide range of aeronautical interests & experience. Outside of his career, he has a passion for aerobatic flight and is the proud owner of a Pitts S1-S. His qualifications include ATPL(A), ME-CIR, Instructor rating, low level aerobatic rating and type ratings on various aircraft including Boeing 757/767 and Boeing 747-400.

Anthony began his podcast journey by producing the Flying Ant Podcast which can be found on his Flying Ant website, and recently came across to PCDU where he discusses various aspects of high performance flight and related training issues.  Anthony will also be performing product reviews for the show in the near future.

For product reviews, contact Anthony at anthonycb@planecrazydownunder.com.

Follow Anthony on Twitter as AntCB

Kathy Mexted

Kathy is a freelance journalist, writer, photographer, mother of three, private pilot and roving reporter for PCDU. Kathy grew up around the agricultural aviation scene and has had an interest in flying from an early age. Her journalistic work covers many subject areas including aviation and has been published in RM Williams Outback Magazine, Australian Pilot, and Airplanista.   Kathy has also had experience in community radio.

Kathy is particularly keen to showcase the increasing role that women play in the aviation industry.
You can follow Kathy on Twitter as @kascribe , on Facebook and at her blog called The Outer Barcoo


Ben Jones

As a kid Ben spent many years of weekends chasing model aircraft around paddocks, first learning to fly gliders with the “Air Training Corps” at the age of 15. Then, at age 16 & still with the “AIRTC” he made the jump into powered flying. After high school he studied CPL and ATPL subjects but decided that the grass was greener outside of the Aviation world and become a Industrial Electrician by trade as a way to fund the aviation addiction.

Fortunately Ben never gave up flying for fun and after flying as pilot in command for the last 18 years he currently holds a Glider instructor rating, Glider maintenance ticket, General Aviation fixed wing license (with a swag of endorsements) and an RA-Aus pilot ticket.

As if that wasn’t enough, Ben’s currently creating a scratch built wooden CJ-1 Corby Starlet and has just started to build a metal kit a Zenith 650B at the same time. He’s also our West Australian correspondent based in Perth.

Did we mention that Ben’s an aviation nut??? :)

Ben Jones in Flight

Pieter Johnson

Pieter is an independent social media journalist and publisher who is passionate about almost everything in aviation.  Pieter’s foray into podcasting began with his Across The Pond segment on the Airplane Geeks Podcast,  and he has now expanded his work by joining the PCDU team in the role of European correspondent.  With his segment called From Up Here To Down There,  Pieter presents stories of interest and relevance to Australian &  Kiwi audiences sourced from his region of the world.

Pieter’s love of aircraft and flying started when he was introduced to flying by his Dad who flew Fairey Swordfish in the Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm as a Telegraphist Air Gunner.  Pieter’s own ability to be a pilot was short lived.  He started his PPL and solo’d on 8 hours at Panshanger (EGLG) in the UK and later solo’ing in the USA at Arthur Dunn (X21) airfield in Florida. He got as far as his solo cross country flight.

Pieter energized his interest in aviation through his love of being involved in aviation through social media.  He doesn’t seek to criticise or cause harm to any other views of aviation,  and wants to promote a positive view of that capability to soar through the skies.  Sometimes he won’t always agree and sometimes he’ll be in awe of other opinions,  but Pieter shares that same passion …….. the love of flight.

Contact Pieter via his XTP Media website and follow him on Facebook. He can also be found on Twitter as @nascothornet


Damien Rose

Damien has dreamed of being aloft ever since he can remember. His father served in the RAAF for over 20 years, working on the Mirage, F111 and the Iroquois, including a tour in Vietnam.

Damien recently attained a Commercial (Aeroplane) Pilot License, along with a swag of ratings & endorsements. His favourite of which was a turbine endorsement on the C208 Cessna Caravan, and a tail wheel endorsement in a Bellanca Decathlon.

The reality of sustaining 5 children and his ever understanding wife, has meant that he is currently not pursuing a career in aviation. However, Damien will continue to fly recreationally, until such time that he will attain an Instructor Rating & teach others the priceless experience he has had the privilege of achieving… flight.

Despite all this, Damien has agreed to join PCDU as our Queensland Correspondent, valiantly going to events & locations to gather more great content for our audience. Honestly, we think he just wants the excuse to go fly some more :)

Damien’s latest aviation antics can be found at OzFlyBoy and he can be contacted via damo@ozflyboy.com

Our Support Crew

Allan van’t Padje

Allan is the guy hidden behind the scenes when out and about at events. As a Sound Engineer he designs, builds and operates the mobile studio, public address, live broadcast and communication systems (all from a single desk). Allan is experienced in both recorded and live broadcasting in many differing mediums. Putting his love of sound systems, event management and aviation together, it was a no-brainer that he wanted to be involved with PCDU. He has worked in the broadcast and entertainment industry for over 15 years.

How Allan kept us running at AusFly

Allan getting ready to mute Grant

Steven Pam

Steven Pam is a commercial photographer and videographer, which means people pay him to make still and moving images of stuff. Mostly he makes images of people in their work environment, aviation-related subjects, and commercial facilities.

Between from 2008 – 2011 he produced and presented Hound TV, a show all about dogs, on Community TV stations around Australia.

Steven is a student recreational pilot, and likes drinking Tang (yeah, we think it’s strange, too… but hey, it takes all types, right?). It seems he’s also pretty much addicted to coffee and Green and Black’s 85% chocolate. He can be bribed with cases of aforesaid chocolate or genuine USA Tang so if you want to get more videos produced from our backlog of content, help us buy more bribes for him :)

This pretty much sums him up, oh yes!